Iran claims responsibility for blasts near United States consulate in Iraq

Daily Report January 16,2024

Iran has claimed responsibility for missile strikes that exploded on Monday close to the U.S. consulate in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, according to The New York Post.

According to The Post. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility, stating that it was targeting the headquarters of spies and anti-Iranian terrorist gatherings in parts of the region with ballistic missiles.

The strikes came despite ongoing concerns about the escalation of a conflict that has spread through the Middle East since the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas began on Oct. 7, 2023.

“In response to the recent atrocities of the Zionist regime, causing the killing of commanders of the Guards and the Axis of Resistance, one of the main Mossad espionage headquarters in Iraq’s Kurdistan region was destroyed with ballistic missiles,” the Guards said in a statement.

According to The Post, Iran had already vowed revenge for the killing of three members of the Guards in Syria last month, including a senior Guards commander who had served as military adviser there.

According to the Kurdistan Regional Security Council, four people were killed in the attack, with six others injured. The victims include prominent local businessman Pershraw Dizayi and his family members, a former deputy speaker of Iraqi Kurdistan’s parliament, Hemin Hawrami.

Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani described the rocket strikes as a “crime against the Kurdish people.” According to a U.S. official, no U.S. facilities were struck or damaged.

Neither the new U.S. Consulate building nor the U.S. troop base at Erbil International Airport appeared to be targeted.

Barzani condemned the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps attacks on Erbil in a post on X.

“I condemn this cowardly attack on the people of the Kurdistan Region in the strongest terms. I urge the federal government in Baghdad to take a principled position against the flagrant violation of Iraq’s and the Kurdistan Region’s sovereignty.

U.S. Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller described the missile attacks as “reckless,” adding that they undermine Iraq’s stability.

In the past, Iran has carried out strikes in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, stating that the area is used as a staging ground for Iranian separatist groups as well as agents of its arch-foe Israel.

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