Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched a rocket assault on what they known as “anti-Iranian terrorist teams” in a northern Iraqi metropolis round midnight on Tuesday, setting off massive explosions and sirens, together with on the US consulate.
Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Safety Council stated the assault within the metropolis of Erbil killed a minimum of 4 civilians and briefly diverted air site visitors, officers stated.
A separate ballistic missile assault hit targets in Syria linked to Islamic State, the Guard stated.
An announcement from the elite Revolutionary Guards stated the missile assault in Erbil was geared toward “the destruction of spy headquarters and websites that anti-Iranian terrorist teams” used to plan a suicide bombing in Kerman, Iran, killing 86 folks. got here to life. this month throughout a memorial parade for Main Basic Qassim Suleimani. The Guards additionally cited a December assault on a police headquarters in Rask, Iran, that killed a minimum of 11 officers.
Some Iranian leaders initially appeared in charge Israel for the assault on the Suleimani monument, though Islamic State claimed accountability. In an announcement afterward Tuesday, the Revolutionary Guards appeared to return to the narrative of blaming Israel, saying the goal in Erbil had been the native headquarters of Mossad, Israel’s spy company. Israel didn’t instantly reply.
The assaults on the monument and police station had been seen as indicators of Iran’s vulnerability to infiltration by extremist teams, regardless of its formidable intelligence and police capabilities.
Direct assaults by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, whereas not new, are far much less widespread than assaults by Iran’s allies. These militant teams have carried out a minimum of 130 assaults on US installations in Iraq and Syria because the warfare within the Gaza Strip started in October, after Hamas led an assault in southern Israel that Israeli officers say killed 1,200 folks. Israel retaliated by bombing the strip, killing greater than 23,000 folks and displacing tens of millions, in line with Gaza well being officers.
A number of of the explosions occurred early Tuesday close to a brand new U.S. consulate below development in Erbil, and a number of other different explosions occurred close to Erbil airport. A US official stated: “No US services had been affected. We aren’t monitoring any infrastructure injury or accidents at the moment.”
The US State Division stated: “The USA strongly condemns Iran’s assaults in Erbil at this time and extends its condolences to the households of those that died. We oppose Iran’s reckless missile assaults, which undermine the soundness of Iraq.”
Erbil is the capital of the Kurdistan Area of Iraq and essentially the most populous metropolis. The Kurdish Area Safety Council known as on the worldwide group to sentence the Iranian assault, which it described as “a blatant violation of the sovereignty of the Kurdish Area and Iraq and the federal authorities.”
In an announcement, the council stated that “Erbil is a secure area and has by no means been a menace to any social gathering,” including: “The Revolutionary Guards stated the assault focused a number of places of Iranian opposition teams. Sadly, they at all times use baseless excuses to assault Erbil.”
Kifah Mahmood, a former media adviser to Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s retired longtime chief, stated the Revolutionary Guards had tried to cowl up “their very own safety failures” in Kerman by staging a retaliatory assault. “However sadly,” he stated, “the rockets landed on civilians, killing some and injuring others.”
The assaults got here as Iran-linked teams focused US bases and camps in Iraq and Syria, and Iranian proxy teams such because the Houthi militants in Yemen attacked business transport within the Purple Sea amid Israel’s warfare towards Hamas, the group who controls components of the nation. of the Gaza Strip. They’re appearing, the Houthis say, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.
These assaults have elevated tensions within the Center East and elevated the danger that an already harmful scenario may spiral into even larger regional violence.
Falih Hassan contributed from Baghdad, and Erik Schmitt from Washington.