Protest-hit Iran strikes Kurdish groups in Iraq again

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Iran again launched deadly missile and drone strikes overnight to Monday against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq. One Kurdish peshmerga fighter was reported killed in mountainous northern Iraq, where two of the groups said their bases had been targeted in the latest such barrage of aerial attacks in recent months.

‘Indiscriminate attacks’

Iran has been shaken by over two months of protests sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Jîna Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest for allegedly breaching the strict dress code for women.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has repeatedly struck Kurdish dissident groups based in Iraq, whom it labels “separatist anti-Iranian terrorist groups”. One of the groups, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), said it was hit with missiles and suicide drones in Koya and Jejnikan, near Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Party official Ali Boudaghi said:

A member of the peshmerga was killed in an Iranian strike.

The PDKI, the oldest Kurdish party in Iran said:

These indiscriminate attacks are occurring at a time when the terrorist regime of Iran is unable to stop the ongoing demonstrations in (Iranian) Kurdistan.

The Iranian Kurdish nationalist group Komala said it was also targeted. On Twitter it said:

Our HQ was once again attacked by the Islamic regime tonight. We’ve been carefully prepared for these types of attacks & have no losses for the moment.

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The autonomous Kurdistan region’s government condemned the strikes in a statement, saying:

The repeated violations that undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and the Kurdistan region are unjustifiable.

‘Vulnerable to attacks’

Since the 1980s, Iraqi Kurdistan has hosted several Iranian Kurdish opposition groups which have waged an armed insurrection against Tehran in the past.

In recent years their activities have declined, but the new wave of protests in Iran has again stoked tensions.

Rights groups on Monday accused Iranian security forces of using live fire and heavy weapons to suppress protests in Kurdish-populated regions in Iran’s west, intensifying a deadly crackdown.

Iran’s latest cross-border strikes come less than a week after similar attacks that killed at least one person, and following attacks in late September that killed more than a dozen people.

The Iranian attacks also come a day after Turkey carried out air raids against outlawed Kurdish militants in Iraqi Kurdistan and northern Syria.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has fought the Turkish government since the mid-1980s and has long operated rear bases in northern Iraq.

Featured image via Unsplash/Agreen

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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