Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fired 12 ballistic missiles at what it called “Mossad targets” near the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, early on Sunday morning.
No deaths or injuries were confirmed in the attack although Iran claimed dozens of Israeli operatives had been killed.
The strike appears to be in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on the Syrian capital Damascus last Monday, in which two IRGC officers were killed.
The IRGC said: “Following the recent crimes of the fake Zionist regime and the previous announcement that the crimes and evils of this infamous regime will not go unanswered; the ‘Strategic Center of Conspiracy and Evil of the Zionists’ was targeted last night by powerful and point-to-point missiles of the IRGC.”
Citing security sources, Iraq’s Sabereen News reported that two Mossad training centers were targeted by ballistic missiles in the early hours of Sunday.
Al-Mayadeen news said a Mossad base on the Masif-Saladin street in Erbil was “fully razed to the ground and a number of Israeli mercenaries were killed or injured.”
Last week, the IRGC identified the two slain officers as colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour and Morteza Saeidnejad, warning that Israel would “pay for this crime.”
On Thursday, Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations wrote to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council, saying Tehran “reserves its inherent right to self-defence, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to respond to such criminal act whenever it deems appropriate.”
Iran “recognices that the Israeli regime is fully responsible for all the consequences of these criminal acts, and seriously warns the regime about taking further adventuristic and malevolent measures,” it said.
The Sunday statement by the IRGC added: “Once again, we warn the criminal Zionist regime that the repetition of any evil will face harsh, decisive and destructive responses. We also assure the great nation of Iran that the security and peace of the Islamic homeland is the red line of the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and they will not allow anyone to threaten or attack it.”
There has been no official comment from Israel but the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, said: “Elements of the Iranian regime claimed responsibility for this attack and they must be held accountable for this flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and terrorist attacks on the property of innocent civilians.”
Analysts say over the last year Iran’s efforts to attack Israeli targets have focused on commercial ships that are owned by Israelis, so the decision to fire missiles is an escalation in its operations. And an attack emanating from Iranian territory is new.
Israel has been conducting bombing raids targeting Iran and its allies in Syria for several years.