People gather at the headquarters of the PDKI, heavily damaged in a deadly Iranian missile strike on Saturday. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) hailed their “successful” operation against Iranian-Kurdish groups in Koya on Saturday.
The IRGC “successfully targeted the place of a meeting by one of the criminal groups and a training centre of these terrorist groups with seven short-range surface-to-surface missiles,” the force announced in a statement on Sunday.
The drone unit also took part in the operation, the statement detailed.
The force had confirmed Saturday evening through the media that they were responsible for the missile strikes that killed at least 16.
The missiles struck camps and headquarters of two Iranian-Kurdish parties, the PDKI and the KDP-I, while they were holding leadership meetings.
PDKI secretary general Mustafa Mawludi and his predecessor Khalid Azizi were both among at least 38 people, including women and children, who were injured.
Refugee camps of family members and supporters of the opposition parties are located near the party headquarters.
The IRGC said they launched the missiles after “terrorist groups associated with the world’s arrogant powers” ignored warnings from Erbil and Tehran to move their bases from the border region and continued to carry out attacks on Iranian forces.
The Kurdistan Regional Government, while condemning the attack, reiterated its opposition to Kurdish parties using Kurdistan Region territory to launch attacks on neighbouring countries.
The IRGC issued a veiled warning to Erbil, saying they “expect the Kurdistan Region to monitor and control the shared borders more seriously.”
They also threatened further attacks: “We warn terrorist groups against the Revolution and their backers… we will respond stronger should they repeat their actions.”
Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack in a statement on Sunday.
While emphasizing Iraq’s commitment to the security of neighbouring countries and its rejection of groups using Iraqi lands to threaten neighbours, the ministry said it “categorically rejects violation of the sovereignty of Iraq through bombing any targets on Iraqi soil without prior coordination with Iraqi authorities in order to avoid civilian casualties from such operations.”
Baghdad has issued similar condemnations of Turkish cross-border military activity against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region, but has not taken serious steps to alter relations with Ankara over the issue.
Sunni leader Ayad al-Allawi said Baghdad needs to take a “firmer stance” on attacks on its territory.
The government needs "a serious national stand that preserves Iraq's prestige, sovereignty,” he tweeted.