TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Sunday claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of a Kurdish separatist group.
Iranian state television aired footage of surface-to-surface missiles launching on Saturday towards the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan base in Iraq, as well as drone footage of the base in the aftermath of the strike, which the separatists say killed at least 11 people and wounded 50.
The footage’s release appeared to be a stark warning by the Guard to the separatist group, known by the acronym PDKI, which has resumed hit-and-run attacks in Iran after some two decades of uneasy peace. A Kurdish attack in July killed at least 10 Iranian border guards, likely sparking the Guard’s show of force.
“The Iranian armed forces won’t allow terrorists to again threaten the country’s national security,” the Guard said in a statement, warning that its future operations would be even “more crushing.” Video aired by state television showed the short-range missiles being fired from mobile launchers in a field in an undisclosed location. The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the paramilitary Guard, identified the missiles fired as Fateh 110-Bs. Those missiles are believed to have a range of up to 300 kilometres, according to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Tasnim said the missiles travelled some 220 kilometres to reach the base in Koya, in northern Iraq.
The Kurdish satellite news channel Rudaw reported that the secretary-general of the PDKI, Mustafa Mawludi, and his predecessor, Khalid Azizi, were wounded in the strike.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Sunday issued a statement criticising Iran’s attack, saying it “rejects the violation of Iraqi sovereignty by bombing any target within Iraqi territory without prior coordination with the Iraqi authorities to spare civilians the effects of such operations.” Iraq and Iran have close political and military ties, and Tehran provided extensive military support in the war against the Islamic State group.
Saturday’s attack comes after the PDKI accused Iran on Friday of carrying out “indiscriminate shelling” targeting the border region.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018