Protest-hit Iran launches strikes that kill 9 in Iraqi Kurdistan


Iran launched cross-border missile and drone strikes that killed nine people in Iraq’s Kurdistan region Wednesday after accusing Kurdish armed groups based there of stoking a wave of unrest that has rocked the Islamic republic.

The September 16 death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, while in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked a major wave of protests and a crackdown that has left scores of demonstrators dead over the past 12 nights.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has in recent days accused the Iraq-based Kurdish groups of “attacking and infiltrating Iran from the northwest of the country to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest”.

After several earlier Iranian cross-border attacks that caused no casualties, a barrage of missiles and drones on Wednesday claimed nine lives and wounded 32, said the regional health minister in Arbil, Saman al-Barazanji, while visiting some off the wounded in a hospital in the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

In Baghdad, Iraq’s federal government called in the Iranian ambassador to protest the deadly strikes, while the UN mission in Iraq deplored the attack, saying “rocket diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences”.

“These attacks need to cease immediately,” the UN mission said on Twitter.

Other strikes Wednesday destroyed buildings around Zargewz, where several exiled left-wing Iranian Kurdish parties maintain offices.

Another group, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, said its bases and headquarters in Koysinjaq, east of Arbil, were struck by “missiles and drones”.

“These cowardly attacks are occurring at a time when the terrorist regime of Iran is unable to crack down on ongoing protests inside and silence the Kurdish and Iranian peoples’ civil resistance,” it tweeted.

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