An Iranian drone bombing campaign targeting the bases of an Iranian-Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq on Wednesday killed at least nine people and wounded 32 others, the Kurdish Regional Government’s Health Ministry said.
The strikes took place as demonstrations continued to engulf the Islamic Republic after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was detained by the Iranian morality police.
Iran’s attacks targeted Koya, some 65 kilometers (35 miles) east of Irbil, said Soran Nuri, a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a leftist armed opposition force banned in Iran.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a statement said the attacks “impacted the Iranian refugee settlements” in Koya, and that refugees and other civilians were among the casualties.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry and the Kurdistan Regional Government have condemned the strikes.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency and broadcaster said the country’s Revolutionary Guard targeted bases of a separatist group in the north of Iraq with “precision missiles” and “suicide drones.”
Gen. Hasan Hasanzadeh of the Revolutionary Guard said 185 Basijis, a volunteer force, were injured by “machete and knife” in the unrest, state-run IRNA news agency reported Wednesday. Hasanzadeh also said rioters broke the skull of one of the Basij members. He added that five Basijis are hospitalized in intensive care.
The Iranian drone strikes targeted a military camp, homes, offices and other areas around Koya, Nuri said. Nuri described the attack as ongoing.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government in Baghdad was expected to summon the Iranian ambassador to deliver a diplomatic complaint over the strikes.
In Baghdad, four Katyusha rockets landed in the capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Wednesday as legislators gathered in parliament.
The zone, home to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, is a frequent target of rocket and drone attacks that the United States blames on Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups.
The Iraqi military earlier said in a statement that one rocket landed near parliament, another near the parliament’s guesthouse, and a third at a junction near the Judicial
Council. Two security officials told the AP that the fourth rocket also landed near parliament.
Iraqi state news reported four security officers were wounded.
The office of Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, in a statement said security forces were pursuing the assailants who fired the rockets, and asked protesters to remain peaceful.
Cellphone footage circulating on social media showed smoke billowing from a carpark near the parliament building.
Following the first series of strikes in northern Iraq, Iran then shelled seven positions in Koya’s stronghold in Qala, a KDPI official told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity in order to speak publicly. The Qala area includes the party’s politburo.
An Associated Press journalist saw ambulances racing through Koya after the strikes. Smoke rose from the site of one apparent strike as security forces closed off the area.
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