Peshmerga fighters from the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (PDK) show respect to the fallen Peshmergas killed in Tuesday bombings in Koya, 70 km east of Erbil. Photo: Rudaw
KOYA, Kurdistan Region—The death toll for the twin bombings that targeted the headquarters of a Kurdish armed party of Iranian Kurdistan has risen to seven on Wednesday, following the death of one of the wounded from the Kurdish security forces.
The Kurdistan Regional Government described the attacks an act of terror.
“We reiterate that we will exhaust all the efforts to bring those responsible for this terrorist act to justice,” the KRG said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will declare to those behind this terrorist crime that every effort or plot against our nation will certainly fail.”
The Iranian Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), known locally as HDK has accused Tehran of masterminding the Tuesday deadly attacks in Koya, 70 kilometers east of Erbil, on Tuesday evening killing five of its Peshmerga fighters, two members of the Kurdish security forces, and wounding three others.
In a statement issued hours after the deadly blasts rocked the HDK politburo offices in the outskirt of the Kurdish town of Koya, the party condemned the bombing, describing it as an act of terror.
A senior party official told Rudaw they had "little doubt" about Iran's involvement in the assault.
Ismail Sharafi said investigations had started but according to him at this stage much of their own clues led to the neighboring Islamic Republic.
"We cannot at this moment identify the perpetrators of these bloody attacks, but such actions that are carried out against the PDK leave little doubt about the Islamic Republic of Iran's involvement as a terrorist regime in the region," Sharafi told Rudaw.
Among the dead was Ali Qoitasi, a veteran commander in the group.
Sharafi also added that Tehran could have funded the attack instead of being directly involved in the terror action.
The twin bombings took place only minutes apart as party members were marking the birthday of their late leader Abdulrahman Ghassemloo who was assassinated in Vienna, Austria, in 1989. An Austrian court has since officially accused Iranian agents of the killing which had long-lasting impact on HDK's structures and its armed struggle for self-rule against the Islamic Republic.
The mayor of Koya told Rudaw that the Kurdistan Region security forces are working on several leads that could determine the identities of the attackers who are still at large.
Mayor Sarkawt Rasoul confirmed that five HDK members and one security officer were killed, all of whom have been identified.
Eyewitnesses told Rudaw the second blast, which appears to have been more powerful, happened when people rushed to the site of the first attack trying to help the victims.
Rasoul said most of the victims were killed when the second bomb was triggered, which also wounded four people.
Since the early 1990s the HDK has ended all its military campaigns against the Iranian army largely due to new arrangements between Tehran and Kurdistan Region, which basically prohibit attacks on Iran from the Kurdish-controlled territories in Iraq.
Tuesday’s attacks happen only months after Kurdistan Region officials' direct call on Tehran to resume negotiations with the HDK.
Many pundits have speculated that the conflict between the Iranian government and its Kurdish Peshmerga is likely to become bloodier in one of the few parts of the Middle East which has so far been spared the regional upheaval that followed the so-called Arab Spring nearly six years ago.