At least 13 killed in Iranian bombing of Iraq-based sites for Iranian Kurds groups
Iran's ballistic and drone attacks on Iranian Kurdish opposition parties in the Iraqi Kurdistan region have killed at least 13, including a pregnant woman, and at least 58 injured, including a Kurdish journalist.
In a clear breach of Iraq's sovereignty, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) early on Wednesday attacked several bases for Iranian Kurdish opposition parties hosted in the Kurdistan region north of the country.
The attacks came as the Iranian regime is desperate to control internal peaceful demonstrations in the country. Iran has been rocked by nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa (Zhina) Amini on 16 September, after she was detained by Iran's morality police which enforces the Islamic Republic's strict restrictions on women's dress.
The attacks targeted a base of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) in Koya, as well as the bases for the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), and Komala in both Sulaimaniyah and Erbil provinces.
A new born #Kurdish baby whose mother was killed by #Iran’s missile attack on a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. #IRGC, a U.S. designated #terror_group were indiscriminately attacking the headquarters of Kurdish political parties and civilians alike for much of Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/YhUKYG1hSD— ئاسۆ (@AazSky) September 28, 2022
"Early on Wednesday, nearly 10:15 am local time, our headquarters in Zirgwez were targeted by Iranian ballistic missiles and suicide drones. Fortunately, we had no casualties since we had taken earlier protective measures. Only three of our peshmergas were slightly wounded," Othman Khalili, a senior member of the Organization of the Toilers of Kurdistan (the Komala), said to The New Arab in Zirgwez, nearly 23 kilometres southeast of Sulaimaniyah city.
"Civilians from this village are living far away from our headquarters, thus life is normal, and I think these barbaric attacks by the Iranian regime are its last attempts to terrify people inside Iran and cling to power, but that is impossible since the people on Iran would no more tolerate their tyranny," he added.
TNA's correspondent in Iraq attempted to take photos of the targeted base, but the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) security forces restricted the area, under the pretext of safety and fears of renewed Iranian attacks.
Sulaimaniyah's local security forces and health officials did not respond to inquiries as well.
School children burst out crying and screaming at the moment of the Iranian bombing of Koysinjaq Town in Iraqi Kurdistan pic.twitter.com/2wBFP5SW9j— Peregraf (@PeregrafNews) September 28, 2022
KRG's health minister, Saman Barzinji, said in a press conference in Erbil that at least nine people were killed and 32 others were wounded as a result of the Iranian assaults.
Hours later, KDPI's Counter-Terrorism Unit hiked the number up to 13 killed, and 58 injuries.
Another pregnant woman died hours after being hospitalised, but Kurdish physicians were able to save her child.
A correspondent to the K24, a Kurdish satellite channel, reportedly has been seriously wounded.
Since Saturday, Iran has been heavily shelling eastern and southern border areas of the Iraqi Kurdistan region in Choman and Shitakan, on the pretext of the existence of military bases of the Iranian Kurdish opposition political parties.
Kawa Bahrami, commander of the Kurdistan Peshmerga Forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), has told TNA that although the Iranian Kurdish political parties have asked the Kurdish people across the Kurdish populated cities in western Iran, better known as Rojhalat, to stage civilian demonstrations, their Peshmerga forces have not interfered militarily within the protests inside Iran.
"By shelling the border areas, Iran wants to portray that there are foreign agendas behind the protests in Iran and that the Iranian Kurdish political parties based in IKR are related to Israel and the United States or other foreign countries. Tehran wants to mislead the international community on the civil and natural protests in Iran," the commander added.
For his part, Ahmed al-Sahaf, spokesperson for Iraq's foreign ministry, said the ministry will urgently summon the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad to submit a strongly worded protest letter.
"UNHCR is gravely concerned about today's attack, which impacted the Iranian refugee settlements in Koya, KRI. The attack is reported to have resulted in a number of civilian casualties and injuries, including Iranian refugees – among them are women & children," the UN refugee agency said on Twitter.
The US Department of State also condemned the attacks and described them as "brazen attacks against Iraq's sovereignty."