Iran confirms missile strikes in Iraq and Syria to 'deter security threats'

Iran confirms missile strikes in Iraq and Syria to 'deter security threats'
Iran says it has targetted areas in Iraq and Syria to combat terrorism and defend sovereignty and security, as US consulate in Erbil attacked
2 min read
Police and soldiers take security measures following attacks in Erbil [Getty]

Iran said on Tuesday it had launched ballistic missiles at targets in Iraq and Syria in defence of its sovereignty and security as well as to counter terrorism.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they attacked the "spy headquarters" of Israel in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region late on Monday, in addition to also striking in Syria against the Islamic State group.

Iraq summoned the Iranian chargé d'affaires in Baghdad on Tuesday to protest against the attacks in Kurdistan, the Iraqi state news agency reported.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Tehran respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries but at the same time was using its "legitimate and legal right to deter national security threats".

"After the enemy miscalculated by targeting the Islamic Republic, Iran retaliated with its high intelligence capability in a precise and targeted operation against the culprits' headquarters," Kanaani added.

Iraq condemned Iran's "aggression" on Erbil that led to civilian casualties in residential areas, according to a statement by the country's foreign ministry.

The Iraqi government would take all legal measures, including filing a complaint at the United Nations Security Council, said the statement. 

They will also publish the findings of an investigation into the strikes, to prove to "Iraqi and international public opinion the falseness of the allegations made by those responsible for these reprehensible actions."

The United States on Monday slammed Iran for the "reckless" deadly missile attacks and warned that they undermine stability.

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"The United States strongly condemns Iran's attacks in Erbil today and offers condolences to the families of those who were killed. We oppose Iran's reckless missile strikes, which undermine Iraq's stability," US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

 France also accused Iran on Tuesday of violating Iraq's sovereignty following the attacks.

"Such acts represent blatant, unacceptable and worrying violations of Iraq's sovereignty and an attack on its stability and security, as well as that of Kurdistan within it," France's foreign ministry said in a statement. "They contribute to the escalation of regional tensions and must stop." 

Since the attacks across Iraq and Syria, three armed drones were shot down on Tuesday over Erbil airport in northern Iraq, where US and other international forces are stationed, Iraqi Kurdistan's counter-terrorism service said.

US and international forces based in Iraq and across the border in Syria have been on high alert amid dozens of attacks, mostly claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, over Washington's backing of Israel in its war on Gaza.