Iran says it attacked “spy headquarters” of Israel

According to state media, the attacks happened in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

State media reported late on Monday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched an attack on what they called the “spy headquarters” of Israel in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which has a degree of autonomy and has faced recent attacks from Turkey. The elite force also said they targeted the Islamic State in Syria with ballistic missiles.

The attack was part of a wider conflict that has engulfed the Middle East since Oct. 7, when Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group, started a war. Iran’s allies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, have also joined the fight against Israel from different fronts, including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The Guards said in a statement that they destroyed “one of the main Mossad espionage headquarters in Iraq’s Kurdistan region” with ballistic missiles, as a retaliation for the “recent atrocities of the Zionist regime” that led to the death of some of their commanders and their allies in the “Axis of Resistance”.

Among those killed were three members of the Guards in Syria last month, including a senior commander who had been advising the Syrian government forces.

The statement also said that the Guards’ offensive operations would not stop until they had avenged “the last drops of martyrs’ blood”.

More than 130 members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group backed by Iran, have died in the hostilities since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants stormed into Israeli territory and triggered Israeli air strikes in Gaza and Lebanon.

The Guards also said they fired ballistic missiles in Syria and eliminated “the perpetrators of terrorist operations” in Iran, referring to the Islamic State.

The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for two bombings in Kerman, a city in southeastern Iran, earlier this month. The blasts killed nearly 100 people and injured many more at a memorial service for Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020.

Iran, which supports Hamas in its war with Israel, accuses the U.S. of backing what it calls Israeli crimes in Gaza. The U.S. says it supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but has expressed concern about the high number of Palestinian civilians killed.

The attack on the Kurdistan region of Iraq was condemned by the Kurdish Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, who said in a statement from his office that it was a “crime against the Kurdish people.”

The Kurdistan government’s security council said in a statement that the attack was a “crime” that killed at least four civilians and wounded six others in Erbil, the capital of the region.

Among the victims were Peshraw Dizayee, a Kurdish multimillionaire businessman, and several members of his family. They died when at least one rocket hit their house, according to Iraqi security and medical sources.

Dizayee was a close ally of the Barzani family, which rules the Kurdistan region. He owned businesses that were involved in major real estate projects in the region.

The security sources also said that one rocket landed on the house of a senior Kurdish intelligence official and another on a Kurdish intelligence facility.

The reports could not be independently verified by the colleagues of Reuters. Israeli government officials could not be reached for immediate comment.

The security sources said that air traffic at Erbil airport was suspended.

Iran has previously carried out attacks in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, claiming that the area was used by Iranian separatist groups and Israeli spies.

Baghdad has tried to address Iran’s concerns over the separatist groups, which operate in the mountainous border area, by relocating some of them as part of a security deal signed with Tehran in 2023.

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