Iran’s attacks on Iraq harmed journalists, widely condemned

Iran continued its bombardment of Kurdish regions of Iraq, a day after Iran fired 73 ballistic missiles and dozens of drones at Kurdish opposition groups.

 A demonstrator displays an image of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, at a protest following her death, outside the Wilshire Federal Building in Los Angeles, California, US, September 22, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/BING GUAN)
A demonstrator displays an image of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, at a protest following her death, outside the Wilshire Federal Building in Los Angeles, California, US, September 22, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/BING GUAN)

Iran continued its bombardment of Kurdish regions of Iraq on Thursday, a day after Iran fired 73 ballistic missiles and dozens of drones at Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq. The continued attacks wounded more members of a Kurdish opposition party called Komala. The attacks have been widely condemned in the region and the West.  

According to updates from the Kurdistan Regional Government, there are now at least thirteen people killed, including civilians. “The casualties due to yesterday's attacks on several areas of the Kurdistan Region by the Islamic Republic of Iran have risen to 13 deaths, & 58 others injured. At least 14 of them are in critical condition and in need of special care. Necessary treatments are being provided,” the Kurdistan regional ministry of health said.  

Journalists were injured in the attacks. Kurdistan24, a local media group, said that their correspondent Soran Kamaran was seriously wounded. Kurdistan24 reported that “on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, the Kurdistan 24 media team came under attack in Pirde area, south of Erbil province, near Sherawa village while covering the Iranian drone and missile attacks on Iranian-Kurdish opposition parties based in Kurdistan Region.” According to the article on the Kurdish media’s website, the Committee to Protect Journalists also put out a statement. “Iran should immediately investigate whether journalists are being targeted by Iran's forces after a Kurdistan 24 journalist was injured during Iranian strikes,” the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement late Wednesday. 

Iran's massive attacks

Condemnations have been pouring in all day yesterday and today regarding Iran’s massive attacks. The attacks were spread out over a large region, from the border area north of Sulimaniyeh to areas south of Erbil. This illustrates careful planning and Iran used a variety of weapons. It appears from the video Tehran released that it used its Fateh-360 missiles, as well as 122mm rockets; and drones. One Mohajer-6 drone came close enough to areas used by US forces that the US-led Coalition scrambled an F-15 to intercept it.  

 Pro-government peoples rally against the recent protest gatherings in Iran, after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran September 23, 2022.  (credit: Majid Asgaripour/ WANA via Reuters) Pro-government peoples rally against the recent protest gatherings in Iran, after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran September 23, 2022. (credit: Majid Asgaripour/ WANA via Reuters)

The White House slammed the Iranian attacks. “The United States strongly condemns the drone and missile attack launched against Iraq’s Kurdistan region earlier today.  We stand with Iraq’s leaders in the Kurdistan region and Baghdad in condemning these attacks as an assault on the sovereignty of Iraq and its people.  Iranian leaders continue to demonstrate flagrant disregard not only for the lives of their own people but also for their neighbors and the core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the UN Charter,” a statement said. The US-led anti-ISIS operation Inherent Resolve also slammed the attacks, calling them “unprovoked.”  

The Netherlands also condemned the attacks. "These in discriminatory attacks have led to the loss of innocent lives and the injuries of civilians and journalists. Our thoughts are with the victims,” a statement said. Saudi Arabia also slammed Iran for the assault, saying it threatens Iraq’s security. Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq also put out a statement and Iraq expressed its displeasure. The UK has called for an end to the indiscriminate bombardment.  

Iran’s use of missiles and drones increasingly shows how it operates these systems together. In addition, the targeting of journalists illustrates how Iran continues to feel impunity for its attacks in the region.