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Iran launches missiles at Syria, northern Iraq

by Kateryna Hodunova January 16, 2024 11:13 AM 2 min read
People conduct search and rescue operations following an attack on the city of Erbil in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, which was claimed by Iran, on Jan. 16, 2024. (Karzan Mohammad Othman/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched ballistic missiles at what it claimed was an Israeli spy base in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and at "anti-Iran terror groups" in Syria on Jan. 16.

The attack set off large explosions in the Iraqi city of Erbil, including at the U.S. Consulate, killing at least four civilians and injuring six, according to the Kurdistan Regional Security Council in Iraq.

The Revolutionary Guard claimed the attack on Erbil was aimed at destroying an alleged Israeli "espionage headquarters" and the positions of "anti-Iranian terrorist groups" who had plotted a suicide bombing attack in Iran earlier in January that killed 86 people.

"In response to the recent atrocities of the Zionist regime, causing the killing of commanders of the Guards and the Axis of Resistance ... one of the main Mossad espionage headquarters in Iraq's Kurdistan region was destroyed with ballistic missiles," the Iranian forces said.

Iranian forces also claimed the attack was in response to Israeli attacks that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders and members of the Iranian resistance front.

"We assure our nation that the Guards' offensive operations will continue until avenging the last drops of martyrs' blood," the Guard said.

The Guards also claimed to have "fired a number of ballistic missiles in Syria and destroyed the perpetrators of terrorist operations" in Iran, including the Islamic State.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attacks on Erbil, offering condolences to the families of those who were affected.

"We oppose Iran's reckless missile strikes, which undermine Iraq's stability," the U.S. State Department said.

However, no U.S. facilities were targeted and there were no U.S. casualties, according to the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Adrienne Watson.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry also condemned Iran's attacks on Erbil, adding that it will take all legal measures to counter what it considers a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and the security of its people, including by filing a complaint at the UN Security Council.

The attacks come amid growing concerns of an escalating situation in the Middle East following the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that began on Oct. 7.

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