Julia Zimmermann Metrography Associated Press Among those killed by Iranian missiles were real estate tycoon Peshraw Dizayee and other members of his family: their homes were directly hit.
France Media Agency in Baghdad
- Middle East
Iraq condemned on Tuesday an “aggression” against its sovereignty after Iranian missile launches on autonomous Kurdistan, Tehran defending a “targeted” operation targeting in particular an alleged Israeli intelligence site, in a context regional explosive.
These nighttime strikes which killed “four civilians” in northern Iraq according to Kurdish sources, come against a backdrop of war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas since the 7 October.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA announced that the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, had carried out an attack on the outskirts of Erbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
According to her, ballistic missiles destroyed “a headquarters” from which Israel's intelligence services would operate – which did not immediately react to these accusations.
In Baghdad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced “an aggression targeting the sovereignty of Iraq and the security of its people”.
He summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires to deliver a “protest missive” and recalled his ambassador to Tehran “for consultations”.
Iraq is already sucked in by regional tensions caused by the war in Gaza and which raise fears of a conflagration between the allies of the two camps.
Baghdad, a major ally of Tehran but also a partner of the United States, must engage in a balancing act: pro-Iran armed groups continue attacks against American soldiers deployed in Iraq and Syria.
Strikes in Erbil killed at least “four civilians” and injured six, authorities say.
Among the dead are a real estate tycoon, also the head of a company active in the hydrocarbon sector and private security, Peshraw Dizayee, and other members of his family: their home was directly hit.
During the night, the Revolutionary Guards claimed to have destroyed one of the main headquarters of “spies of the Zionist regime (Mossad)”, according to IRNA.
Responsible for investigating the strikes, the Iraqi national security adviser, Qassem al-Aaraji, denounced on Tuesday “false allegations” concerning “the presence of a Mossad (security service) HQ foreign intelligence, Editor's note) Israeli” in Erbil.
“We inspected the place, visited every corner of the house. Everything indicates that it is the house of a businessman” assured Mr. Aaraji.
Iranian diplomacy defended a “precise and targeted operation”, claiming to have “identified” and “targeted” the headquarters of “criminals […] using precision weapons”.< /p>
This attack comes in response to recent operations that eliminated Iranian or allied commanders — and the Revolutionary Guards' reprisals “will continue until the last drop of the martyrs' blood is avenged,” according to IRNA.< /p>
On January 2 in Lebanon, a strike killed Hamas number two, Saleh al-Arouri, and six other officials and executives of the Palestinian movement. A few days later, Wissam Tawil, a senior military official of Lebanese Hezbollah, was killed.
At the end of December, Tehran also accused Israel of having eliminated in Syria Brigadier General Razi Mousavi, an important commander of the Quds Force, the branch of foreign operations and the elite unit of the Guardians .
If Iraq criminalizes any contact with Israel, politicians and businessmen in Erbil have already been accused of maintaining informal contacts with this country. But Kurdistan's official line denies any connection with Israel.
The Prime Minister of Kurdistan, Masrour Barzani, met Tuesday in Davos, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting, the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken.
The Iraqi official denounced “unjustified and illegal attacks”, calling on the international community “not to remain silent”, according to his services.
Tuesday in Erbil, several hundred people demonstrated waving flags of the autonomous region.
Furthermore, the Revolutionary Guards announced on their Sepah News website that they had identified and destroyed in Syria “the gathering places of commanders and main elements linked to recent terrorist operations, in particular the Islamic State”.
They explained that this attack was carried out in “retaliation for recent crimes by terrorist groups”, particularly in Kerman.
On January 3, a suicide attack was carried out there during a memorial ceremony near the tomb of General Qassem Soleimani, architect of Iranian military operations in the Middle East, killed in January 2020 by a strike American in Iraq.
The attack, claimed by ISIS, left around 90 dead and many injured.