Tehran – Iran's Revolutionary Guard announced on Monday-Tuesday night that it bombed “terrorist” targets in Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan region with ballistic missiles, killing at least four civilians in what Washington described as “irresponsible”. Erbil.
The Iranian bombing comes at a time when tensions are rising in the region due to the impact of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and fears that the conflict could escalate.
The Islamic Republic news agency, IRNA, quoted the Revolutionary Guard as saying in a statement that it had “destroyed a spy headquarters” and “a gathering of anti-Iranian terrorist groups” in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region.
In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson insisted that “no US groups or facilities were targeted” in Iraqi Kurdistan and condemned “a series of reckless and imprecise strikes”.
However, Kurdistan officials said at least “four civilians” were killed and six others were wounded, “some of whom are in unstable condition.”
Iraqi security and medical sources said Kurdish businessman Bishru Diqi and several members of his family were killed when at least one missile hit their home.
Dizai, who is close to the ruling Barzani clan, owns companies that lead large real estate projects in Kurdistan.
Iraqi security sources said a missile hit the home of a senior Kurdish intelligence officer and another targeted a Kurdish intelligence center.
Agence France-Presse reported that several explosions were heard in the area and missiles hit an upscale residential area in the northeastern suburb of Erbil.
The regional government's prime minister, Mazrour Barzani, condemned “this crime against the Kurdish people”.
In a statement, Barzani called on the federal government to “take a strong stand against the violation of Iraqi sovereignty” and the international community to “put an end to these brutal attacks on the innocent people of Kurdistan.”
The US State Department warned that Iran's “irresponsible” bombing of Erbil could undermine Iraq's stability.
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement: “The United States strongly condemns today's attacks on Erbil by Iran and extends its condolences to the families of those killed. “
In Syria, according to the Revolutionary Guard, the bombing targeted “leaders and key elements of terrorists (…) gathering places, especially ISIS, in the occupied territories of Syria.”
For its part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it heard violent explosions in the city of Aleppo and its countryside, noting that “at least 4 missiles came from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea and fell in the countryside of Aleppo.”
In its statement, the Revolutionary Guard said the bombing of these sites in Syria came “in response to the recent atrocities by terrorist groups that led to the martyrdom of a group of our dear citizens in Kerman and Rasq.”
On January 3, two suicide bombings occurred near the shrine of Major General Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, in Kerman, in the south of the Islamic Republic, during his anniversary celebrations. Killed in a US strike in Iraq in January 2020.
About 90 people were killed and dozens wounded in two bombings claimed by Islamic State.
On that day, Iran's Intelligence Ministry said that “one of the suicide bombers is a Tajik national”, while the identity of the second has yet to be identified.
In December, 11 Iranian policemen were killed in southeastern Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province, claimed by a jihadist group operating in this border region with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The “Army of Justice” claimed responsibility for the attack. The Baloch Justice Army was formed in 2012 by former members of an extremist Sunni group that waged a bloody insurgency in the region until 2010.
In November 2022, Iran launched cross-border missile strikes against Iranian-Kurdish resistance groups stationed in northern Iraq, which Tehran accuses of fomenting protests in the Islamic Republic.
The strikes came after protest movements were launched in Iran over the death of Mahza Amini (22), who was arrested by morality police for not following the Islamic Republic's strict dress code.
Later in a statement, the Revolutionary Guard said, “In response to the recent evil acts of the Zionist organization, it led to the martyrdom of the leaders of the Revolutionary Guard and Axis of Resistance, one of the main headquarters of the Zionist Mossad. Iraq's Kurdistan Region was targeted and destroyed.
According to the report, “the headquarters was a hub for expanding intelligence operations and planning terrorist activities in the region and particularly within Iran.”
“Its offensive operations will continue until the last drop of martyrs' blood is avenged,” the Revolutionary Guards assured in its statement.