BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq summoned the Iranian ambassador on Thursday to deliver a diplomatic complaint following a deadly drone bombing campaign, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Iranian drones targeted an Iranian-Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and wounding 32 others. The strikes took place as demonstrations continued to engulf the Islamic Republic after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died while in the custody of the Iranian morality police.
Iran’s attacks targeted positions of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in the town of Koya, some 65 kilometers (35 miles) east of Irbil, the main city and capital of Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a leftist armed opposition force banned in Iran.
The Foreign Ministry said in its statement that civilians were among those killed. It added that the Iraqi government condemned "this crime, which represented the continuation of Iranian forces’ encroachment on Iraq’s sovereignty.”
The ministry also warned of repercussions on "the societal peace of both countries and on regional security and stability.”
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency and broadcaster on Wednesday said the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard targeted bases of a separatist group in the north of Iraq with “precision missiles” and “suicide drones.”
Gen. Hasan Hasanzadeh of the Revolutionary Guard said 185 members of the Basij, a volunteer force, were injured by “machete and knife” in the unrest in Iran. Hasanzadeh also said rioters broke the skull of one Basij member. He added that five Basij members were hospitalized in intensive care.
United Nations' agencies, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom all condemned the attacks on northern Iraq.
The U.N. mission in Iraq said in a tweet that the Mideast country cannot be treated as “the region’s ‘backyard,' where neighbors routinely, and with impunity, violate its sovereignty.”
“Rocket diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences,” the U.N. mission said.
In Washington, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel confirmed to reporters that an American citizen was killed in the rocket attacks in the Iraqi Kurdish region. He offered no additional information, citing privacy concerns, and also reiterated the U.S. condemnation of Iran for the attacks.
Protests in Iran have raged following Amini's death in custody in Tehran, and spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages across Iran. State TV reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the demonstrations began Sept. 17. An Associated Press count of official statements by authorities tallied at least 14 dead, with more than 1,500 demonstrators arrested.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s defense minister said Turkish military jets carried out a new aerial offensive against suspected hideouts of Kurdish separatists from Turkey in northern Iraq, striking as deep as 149 kilometers (87 miles) deep into Iraqi territory.
The jets targeted 16 caves, shelters and command centers allegedly used by Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq’s Asos region on Sept. 27, Hulusi Akar told journalists. He did not provide further details.
The PKK maintains bases across the border in Iraq and has led an armed insurgency inside Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.
Turkey’s military has over the years launched numerous cross-border offensives in Iraq in pursuit of PKK militants.