ERBIL, Kurdistan Region of Iraq — In a dramatic escalation of tensions in the Middle East, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched ballistic missiles targeting a residential area of Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
At least eight explosions rocked Erbil, resulting in the tragic loss of four lives and injuring six others, according to the regional security council.
The IRGC asserted that it used ballistic missiles to dismantle “espionage centers and gatherings of anti-Iranian terrorist groups” in the region, claiming to have struck the headquarters of the Israeli spy agency Mossad in Erbil.
Two American officials indicate that the missile strikes in Iraq did not target any American facilities and caused no casualties among Americans. In Erbil, flights at the international airport were suspended in the aftermath of the attacks, which targeted the airport vicinity and other locations. Anti-aircraft guns reportedly intercepted some of the missiles.
The Iraqi government swiftly condemned what it deemed as Iran’s “aggression” on Erbil, emphasizing that the attacks led to civilian casualties in residential areas and constituted a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iraq expressed its intention to explore various actions, including filing a complaint at the United Nations Security Council.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani, defended the missile strikes, stating that Tehran respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries but was exercising its “legitimate and legal right to deter national security threats.” Kanaani emphasized that Iran’s actions were in response to perceived security concerns.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Iraq recalled its ambassador from Tehran for consultations and summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Baghdad. The United States, condemning the strikes, added its voice to the growing international chorus expressing concern over the escalating situation.
Among those killed was Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian businessman Karam Mikhail. Mikhail was visiting the house of Kurdish multimillionaire Peshraw Dizayee, who was also killed in the attack.
As the international community grapples with the repercussions of these missile strikes, the situation remains fluid, with diplomatic tensions rising and concerns over the potential for further escalation in the region.