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Iraq recalls ambassador from Tehran after Iranian missiles strike Kurdish region

In MIDDLE EAST, World
January 16, 2024

Iraq condemned an “attack on its sovereignty” on Tuesday after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched missile strikes on anti-Tehran groups and an alleged Israeli “spy headquarters” in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. 

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The Iraqi foreign ministry said it recalled its ambassador from Tehran and summoned Iran‘s envoy in protest at the attack, noting that the missile strikes had “claimed civilian lives”. 

“The attack is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty, which goes against… international law and threatens the security of the region,” the ministry said in a letter handed to Iran’s charge d’affaires Abol Fadl Azizi.

Iraqi authorities “will take all legal steps” necessary, including “lodging a complaint with the (UN) Security Council“, the ministry added in a statement.

They will also publish the findings of an investigation into the strikes, to prove to “Iraqi and international public opinion the falseness of the allegations made by those responsible for these reprehensible actions,” the ministry said.

Earlier, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said the attacks destroyed “a spy headquarters” and a “gathering of anti-Iranian terrorist groups” in Erbil.

Four people were killed and six others wounded in the attack, according to Iraq’s Kurdistan security council.

The prominent businessman Peshraw Dizayee was among several civilians who were killed, the Kurdistan Democratic Party said.

The US State Department issued a statement condemning the “reckless” missile strikes, stressing that they “undermine Iraq’s stability”.

IS group targeted in Syria

The missile strikes come amid concerns about the escalation of a conflict that has spread through the Middle East since the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas began on Oct. 7, with Iran‘s allies also entering the fray from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also hit targets in Syria with ballistic missiles, including the “gathering places of commanders and main elements related to recent terrorist operations, particularly the Islamic State (IS) group“, their Sepah News service reported.

It added that the strike on Syria was in response to recent attacks by terrorist groups that killed Iranians in the southern cities of Kerman and Rask.

Explosions were heard in Aleppo and its countryside, where “at least 4 missiles that came from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea” fell, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

On January 3, suicide bombers struck crowds gathered near the tomb of the revered IRGC general Qasem Soleimani in Kerman, killing around 90 people. The attack was later claimed by the IS group.

In December, at least 11 Iranian police officers were killed in an attack on a police station in Rask. The jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which was formed in 2012 and is blacklisted by Iran as a “terrorist” group, claimed responsibility.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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