Advertisement

Iran says IRGC attacked alleged Israeli spy headquarters in Iraq

Iranians drive past under a billboard depicting alleged Iranian missiles attacks with a message reading in Persian "Harsh Response" and in Arabic and Hebrew, "We will take revenge on the criminals" in a highway in Tehran on Tuesday. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps said it destroyed "Israel spy bases" in Erbil, Iraq. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE
Iranians drive past under a billboard depicting alleged Iranian missiles attacks with a message reading in Persian "Harsh Response" and in Arabic and Hebrew, "We will take revenge on the criminals" in a highway in Tehran on Tuesday. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps said it destroyed "Israel spy bases" in Erbil, Iraq. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said overnight it attacked alleged Israeli spy headquarters in northern Iraq, as well as terrorist targets in Syria, state news reported, escalating already heightened tensions in the Middle East.

The attacks in Iraq's Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil were confirmed by the local security council, which said at least four civilians were killed and six others were injured, some of whom were listed in unstable condition.

Advertisement

The IRGC said it had struck Mossad headquarters with ballistic missiles in what it framed as retaliation over "the plot of the Israeli regime's spy agency hatched to assassinate Iranian and resistance commanders," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The Kurdistan Region Security Council disfuted the IRGC's claim in a statement of its own that said Iran "always uses unnecessary excuses to attack Erbil."

Advertisement

"Erbil, as a stable area, never has been a source of threat to any party," it said.

"This is a clear violation of the dictatorship of the region and Iraq and the federal government and the international community should not be silent about these crimes," the Kurdistan Region Security Council said.

The United States was quick to condemn the attack in Erbil, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller offering condolences to the families of those killed.

"The United States strongly condemns Iran's attacks in Erbil today," he said in a statement. "We oppose Iran's reckless missile strikes, which undermine Iraq's stability. We support the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government's effort to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people."

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the Kurdistan region called on Baghdad to take "a principle position" against the attack while urging the international community "not to remain silent in the face of repeated attacks against the people of Kurdistan."

"In the next few days, we will work with our partners in the [international] community to stop these brutal attacks against our innocent people," he said in a statement published on X.

The attack is expected to raise heightened fears of the war in Israel expanding, as Iran, through its proxies, has been increasing its involvement in the conflict, which began Oct. 7 when the Tehran-backed Hamas militant group launched a bloody surprise attack on Israel that killed some 1,200 people.

Advertisement

Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon has also been attacking Israel and the Houthi rebels of Yemen have been launching missiles and drones on shipping vessels transiting the Red Sea.

Iran also vowed that it would seek retribution over last month's airstrike in Damascus that killed Sardar Seyed Razi Mousavi, an adviser to the IRGC in Syria. It holds Israel responsible.

"In response to the recent evil acts of the Zionist regime in martyring IRGC and resistance commanders, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, with its nobility and intelligence, targeted and destroyed one of the main headquarters of Israel's spying agency Mossad in Iraq's Kurdistan region by firing ballistic missiles," the IRGC said in a statement carried by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

"This Mossad headquarters has been working for espionage operations and a center for terror attacks planning in the region, especially against our beloved country."

The IRGC overnight also attacked purported spy centers in Syria, targeting "anti-Iran terrorist groups," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack earlier this month that killed more than 100 people in the Iranian city of Kerman.

Latest Headlines