Iranian cross-border missile and drone airstrikes targeted Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 13 and wounding 58 others. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard claimed responsibility for the attacks.
According to The Washington Post, the strikes targeted the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran in the Koysangjak district in Irbil, the Kurdish Komala Party in the village of Zarkwezela in Sulaymaniyah province, and the Kurdistan Freedom Party in Kirkuk province.
Several strikes hit homes, military bases, offices and even a civilian area near an elementary school in Koya, in the country’s Kurdistan region. Four rockets landed in Baghdad’s so-called “green zone,” where parliament and the U.S. embassy are located.
According to Iraq’s state news agency, the attacks killed at least 13 people and wounded 58, including civilians and children.
“The United States strongly condemns the drone and missile attack launched against Iraq’s Kurdistan region earlier today,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement, describing the attack as an “assault on the sovereignty of Iraq and its people.”
Sullivan added that the United States plans to continue to put pressure on Iran through “sanctions and other means.”
The U.S. Army Central Command reported that it successfully brought down an Iranian drone targeting Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, as the potential strike posed a threat to American personnel in the area.
“No U.S. forces were wounded or killed as a result of the strikes, and there is no damage to U.S. equipment,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
The strikes Wednesday follow nearly two weeks of unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died after being in the custody of Iranian morality police. Throughout the violent clashes, dozens of protesters have been killed and hundreds injured. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists reported that at least 23 journalists have been arrested during the protests so far.
While the targeted Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups “have voiced support for the protests in Iran, there is no indication they are directly connected to the unrest,” according to The Washington Post. Yet, according to analysts, the Iranian attacks on Iraq are an attempt to transfer the blame for the internal conflict to external factors.
In a statement read on national television, the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s elite military and security forces, stated that “this operation will continue with our full determination until the threat is effectively repelled, terrorist group bases are dismantled, and the authorities of the Kurdish region assume their obligations and responsibilities.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.