Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has claimed responsibility for striking what it called an Israeli “spy centre” in the city of Irbil in northern Iraq. Iran said that it was a retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian officials. The United States condemned the attack and called on the Iraqi officials to hold Iran accountable. Iraq has also summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest the attack.
The Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for launching a missile barrage on what it called an Israeli spy centre. They did not elaborate further on the accusation but said that Israel had been on the offensive. Iran claims that Israel had killed two officials of its Revolutionary Guards in a strike in Syria earlier this week. News agencies have quoted sources saying that Iran fired at least 10 Fateh missiles, including several Fateh-110 that have an estimated range of 300kms.
No casualties were reported in Sunday’s attack in Irbil. The city bears marks of increased escalation between the United States and Iran. The hostility between the two long-time foes has often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both adversaries.
The unsolicited attack drew condemnation from the Iraqi government, which called it the “violation of international law and norms” and demanded a thorough explanation from the Iranian leadership. Iraq Iraq’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahhaf news agencies that the ministry has summoned the Iranian Ambassador, Iraj Masjedi, to register a diplomatic protest.
The United States also condemned the assault as an unjustified attack on a civilian residence. “We will support the Government of Iraq in holding Iran accountable, and we will support our partners throughout the Middle East in confronting similar threats from Iran,” the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement. “The United States of America stands behind the full sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq.”
A sprawling US consulate is also located near the attack site, but it has remained unscathed in the attack. No US facilities were damaged or personnel injured. State Department said that the US has no indication that the attack was aimed at America.
Israel has not yet commented on the attack.
Several separate videos of the attacks were posted on social media show missiles hitting the target one after the other in quick succession. Some of the missiles also landed near the US consulate. Kurdish authorities have reported that at least one person was injured in the attack.
Sunday’s attack was a rare publicly declared assault by Tehran on US allies. The last time Iran fired missiles at US facilities in Irbil was in January 2020 – retaliation for the US killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.