Iran fires missiles at Kurdish militias in eastern Iraq

Three people were killed and a number of others were injured in the strikes.

Iranian missile attack targets Kurdish groups in Iraqi Kurdistan, November 14, 2022 (photo credit: PDKI/Karim Botane)
Iranian missile attack targets Kurdish groups in Iraqi Kurdistan, November 14, 2022
(photo credit: PDKI/Karim Botane)

Iran fired missiles and drones at Kurdish militias in Koysenjaq and Zrgoez in eastern Iraq on Monday morning, according to Kurdish media.

The headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) in Koysenjaq and the headquarters of the Komala group (KZK) in Zrgoez were targeted in the strikes. The strikes additionally targeted sites near Sidakan and Qimmat Saqar.

Three people were killed and a number of others were injured in the strikes.

Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan region, condemned the attack on Monday, calling it a violation of the sovereignty of the Kurdistan region and Iraq, according to Rudaw.

The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency reported that Iranian forces had fired missiles and artillery at Kurdish groups in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Many Iranian Kurds live in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq as refugees, having fled Iran over the years. Several Kurdish dissident groups operate there as well and Iran has increasingly targeted them as protests swept Iran over the last two months. 

An Iranian attack on a attack on PDKI base in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Credit: PDKI/Karim Botane)

IRGC Ground Force commander Sardar Mohammad Pakpour repeated claims that Kurdish groups were fueling unrest in Iran on Monday, adding that Iran had demanded that the groups be dismantled and removed from eastern Iran, but that this was not done, according to the Fars News Agency.

The IRGC commander claimed that the group had established new headquarters in population centers, warning that Iran would "target these headquarters wherever they are."

Pakpour listed a number of specific locations, including Koy Sanjaq and Azadi in eastern Iraq, warning that the IRGC would target these locations in the future. The commander warned civilians to either force the Kurdish groups out of their areas or to stay away from their headquarters in order to avoid being harmed.

General Mohammad Taghi Osanloo, commander of the IRGC's Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shuhada, told IRNA that new headquarters belonging to Kurdish groups located as far as 80 kilometers within Iraq were hit in the strikes.

US Ambassador to Iraq Alina L. Romanowski condemned the attack, tweeting "the US strongly condemns the #Iranian drone & missile attack on the Iraqi @Kurdistan Region today & calls on Iran to stop attacking its neighbor & the people of Iraq. We stand w/ @IraqiGovt’s leaders in Baghdad & the #IKR and condemn these violations of Iraqi sovereignty."

Iran accuses Kurdish militias of fueling protests sweeping country

Militias in the area were targeted by multiple Iranian missile strikes in recent months as the Islamic Republic accused the militias of helping protesters who have been demonstrating across Iran since the killing of Mahsa Amini by Iranian "morality police" in September.

In September, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted groups in Iraqi Kurdistan with precision missiles and suicide drones.

The IRGC claimed at the time that it was launching the attacks against "separatist terrorist groups," naming the Komala Party and the Kurdistan Freedom Party. The IRGC added that it would continue the operation against the groups until "the threat is effectively repelled and the headquarters of terrorist groups are dismantled and the authorities of the region fulfill their obligations and responsibilities."

IRGC Deputy Commander for Operations Abbas Nilforoushan told the Iranian Tasnim News Agency on Wednesday that the strikes against Iraqi Kurdistan were conducted against "counter-revolutionaries" who "attacked and infiltrated the country to create unrest and insecurity."

Nilforoushan claimed that the groups in Iraqi Kurdistan "played the biggest role" in the protests sweeping Iran.

Iranian officials have additionally claimed that Iraqi Kurdish groups are working with Israel.

Pakpour claimed in October that a group of militants planning to attack nuclear facilities in Isfahan came from northern Iraq.

"In their confessions, it is stated that the Zionist regime is present in the bases of terrorist groups located in the northern region of Iraq. They select people and take them to Israel and after providing the necessary training, they send trained teams to carry out terrorist activities inside Iran. Therefore, these bases can also be considered the bases of the Zionist regime, because their interest goes to the Zionist regime," said Pakpour to the Mehr News Agency.

According to Pakpour, the IRGC fired missiles and drones as far as 130 kilometers into Iraq in the strikes in September.