Iran has carried out missile strikes targeting what it claims were Israeli “spy headquarters” near the U.S. consulate in Irbil, a city in northern Iraq. The strikes also hit targets associated with the extremist group Islamic State in northern Syria.
According to the security council of the Kurdish regional government, the missile attacks caused the deaths of four civilians and left six others injured. They struck an upscale area close to the consulate, which is located in Irbil, the seat of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards released statements confirming that they had targeted a Mossad headquarters in the Kurdish region of Iraq. They also claimed to have destroyed several terrorist operations, including Islamic State targets, in Syria.
These missile strikes are taking place amidst heightened tensions in the region and concerns about the conflict in Gaza spreading further.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have been launching drone attacks on a near-daily basis. These attacks have been aimed at bases where U.S. forces are stationed in both Iraq and Syria. The militias have stated that these attacks are in response to U.S. support for Israel and as an attempt to pressure American troops to withdraw from the region.
The United States has strongly condemned these missile strikes by Iran, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stating that they undermine Iraq’s stability.
A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the missiles were tracked by the United States and that no American facilities were hit or damaged in either northern Iraq or northern Syria. The official also expressed initial concerns about the precision and reckless nature of the strikes.
Missile Strikes Hit Irbil: Iraqi and Iranian Officials Provide Limited Details
An incident involving missile strikes in the city of Irbil has been reported, according to an anonymous Iraqi security official. Although specific details have not been disclosed, it is believed that “several” ballistic missiles were used in the attack. Another anonymous official, this time from an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, stated that approximately 10 missiles fell near the U.S. consulate in the area. These missiles are said to have been launched by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Tragically, local businessman Peshraw Dizayi and members of his family lost their lives during one of the strikes. The news of their death was shared on X (previously known as Twitter) by Mashan al-Jabouri, a former Iraqi member of parliament. According to al-Jabouri, one of the missiles hit Dizayi’s residence, which he referred to as a “palace.” This residence is located on the road leading to the Salah al-Din resort.
The death of Dizayi has been confirmed by various regional political figures. It is worth noting that back in 2022, Iran had claimed responsibility for a missile barrage that targeted the same area near the extensive U.S. consulate complex in Irbil. The strike was allegedly carried out as retaliation for an Israeli attack in Syria, which resulted in the deaths of two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Furthermore, this recent missile attack by Iran in northern Syria is believed to be a response to the Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility for two suicide bombings. These bombings were aimed at a commemoration event for an Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2020. The attack in Kerman during the event led to the death of at least 84 people, with an additional 284 individuals being wounded.
It is also worth mentioning that in a separate incident last month, Iran accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike in a Damascus neighborhood, resulting in the death of a high-ranking Iranian general named Seyed Razi Mousavi.
The situation in Irbil remains concerning, with limited information available at this time.