The American government has denounced Iranian drone strikes on targets in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region. No one was hurt in the overnight attack.
In an interview with Kurdish news outlet Rudaw, Nabaz Abdulhamid, the mayor of Erbil, the region’s capital, confirmed that Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups were the targets of Monday morning’s assault on the border of Erbil governorate.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces, took responsibility for the attack via the social media site Telegram.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, which is frequently targeted by the Iranian government, said the drones and missiles hit a refugee camp. No casualties were noted by the organisation.
Centcom, the US military headquarters in the Middle East, condemned Iranian cross-border missile and unmanned aerial vehicle strikes near Erbil, Iraq, on Monday evening.
An Iranian Quds Force commander, Esmail Ghaani, was in Baghdad on Saturday where he reportedly issued a warning that Iran might mount a ground offensive into the Kurdish part of Iraq to eliminate Kurdish rebels, whom Iran holds responsible for destabilizing the country.
Around 500 protesters and 50 security personnel have died over two months of demonstrations in Iran. The demonstrations started as a call for women’s rights but later turned into a demand for better living conditions as a result of high inflation and shortages of basic goods.
Senior Kurdish officials said the strikes were part of an effort to “destabilize Kurdistan” and hinder the fight against ISIS. Those strikes also killed at least two people in Koya, where the PDKI is based. The Iraqi government and the United Nations condemned those strikes as violations of Iraqi sovereignty.
The UN said Iraq must not be turned into a battleground for settling scores and its territorial integrity must be safeguarded.
Heavy gunfire was heard through the night in footage posted by the Iraqi security monitoring account Tammuz Intel on Monday morning, which could not immediately be verified. It was reported that Kurdish fighters were trying to shoot down an Iranian drone.
Image Credit: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP