Iran’s IRGC announced they attacked “espionage centers and gatherings of anti-Iranian terrorist groups” in Iraq and Syria, before midnight local time on Monday.
The Revolutionary Guard issued several communiques saying that the ballistic missile strikes were in retaliation to “recent crimes of terrorist groups in killing innocent compatriots in Kerman and Rask.” It also singled out Israel for killing the Guard’s high-ranking officers and proxy forces in air strikes in Syria.
There are unconfirmed reports that some missiles landed near the US-led International Coalition Headquarters & the US consulate in Erbil.
No US facilities were impacted by the missiles strikes, two US officials told Reuters.
Deputy Speaker of Kurdistan’s Parliament, Hemn Hawrami, said that “unjustified attacks in Erbil by the IRGC targeted a civilian house” belonging to Peshraw Dizayee, killing him and 4 members of his family. Dizayee was an business mogul and head of Falcon Investment Group. In the past Tehran has accused some Iraqi Kurds of collaborating with Israel.
The IRGC was referring to a twin-bombing on January 3 near the tomb of one of its top commanders, Qasem Soleimani, in Kerman where around 100 people were killed, on the fourth anniversary of his killing by a US strike in Baghdad.
The Afghanistan branch of ISIS took responsibility for the attack that came as a major embarrassment to Iranian security forces.
The IRGC announcement said that it fired ballistic missiles and eliminated “the commanders and main elements linked to the recent terrorist operation.” It did not explain why the retaliation was against ISIS in Syria and not in Afghanistan. Later, Al Mayadeen network, affiliated with the Iranian regime said that IRGC targeted training centers in Syria where Afghanistan ISIS forces were being trained.
In its earlier communique, the IRGC did not mention targets in Iraq, but specifically mentioned Syria. However, Iranian media and Iraqi officials said that targets in Erbil were hit.
In a later statement, however, the IRGC said it had targeted an Israeli “espionage center” in Erbil.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in response to recent aggressions by the Zionist regime resulting in the martyrdom of IRGC commanders and members of the Resistance Front…targeted and destroyed one of the main espionage centers of the Zionist regime (Mossad) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq using ballistic missiles. This center has been the hub for developing espionage operations and designing terrorist activities in the region, especially in our beloved country,” the statement said.
Iran has been claiming for a long time that Israel has an “espionage center” in Erbil and fired missiles at a building there in March 2022.
Iranian officials blamed Israel and the United States after the terror attack and claimed that ISIS is a tool that carried out Israeli and US plans.