Iran again launched deadly missile and drone strikes overnight into Monday against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq, killing at least one fighter from the groups it accuses of stoking a wave of protests.
One Kurdish peshmerga fighter was reported killed in mountainous northern Iraq, where two of the groups said their bases had been targeted in the latest such barrage of aerial attacks in recent months, reported The Times of Israel.
Iran has been shaken by more than two months of protests sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest for allegedly breaching the strict dress code for women.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has repeatedly struck the Kurdish dissident groups based in Iraq’s mountainous north, whom it labels “separatist anti-Iranian terrorist groups,” reported The Times of Israel.
The Guards charged the Kurdish groups are being supported by “the global arrogance”, code for archfoe the United States and its allies, and said it had targeted their “headquarters and conspiracy centres”.
The IRGC said it had hit the Kurdish camps of Jejnikan and Zarguiz and the town of Koysinjaq, adding that “the terrorists were struck and suffered heavy casualties”.
Meanwhile, the government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region condemned the strikes in a statement: “The repeated violations that undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and the Kurdistan region are unjustifiable,” reported The Times of Israel.
The US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, condemned the “illegal” Iranian strikes near Arbil.
“Such indiscriminate and illegal attacks place civilians at risk, violate Iraqi sovereignty, and jeopardize the hard-fought security and stability of Iraq and the Middle East,” CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla said in a statement.
The new Iranian strikes come less than a week after similar cross-border attacks by Tehran that killed at least one person, and following attacks in late September that killed more than a dozen people.
Tehran accuses the Kurdish-Iranian opposition groups based in northern Iraq of stoking the wave of “riots” at home, where women-led protests have flared nationwide over Amini’s death
Iraqi Kurdistan hosts several Iranian Kurdish opposition groups which have in the past waged an armed insurrection against Tehran.
In recent years their activities have declined, but the wave of protests in Iran has again stoked tensions.
The latest Iranian attacks also come a day after Turkey carried out air raids against outlawed Kurdish militants in Iraqi Kurdistan and northern Syria. (ANI)