Iran announces strikes in northern Iraq, Syria

Iran announced late Monday that it had launched strikes against a “spy headquarters and the gathering of anti-Iranian terrorist groups” shortly after missiles hit an area near the U.S. consulate in Irbil, the seat of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Soon after, a statement from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on state media said it had struck “terrorist operations” including Islamic State targets in Syria “and destroyed them by firing a number of ballistic missiles.” Another statement claimed that it had hit a headquarters of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

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The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility earlier this month for two suicide bombings targeting a commemoration for an Iranian general slain in a 2020 U.S. drone strike. The attack in Kerman killed at least 84 people and wounded an additional 284 at a ceremony honoring Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Ayatollah Ali Khamanei

Irans Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.  (Iranian Leaders Press Office – Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Last month, Iran accused Israel of killing a high-ranking Iranian general, Seyed Razi Mousavi, in an airstrike on a Damascus neighborhood.

In Iraqi security official said Irbil was targeted with “several” ballistic missiles but did not give further details. An official with an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia said 10 missiles fell in the area near the U.S. consulate. He said the missiles were launched by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

U.S. officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the strike near the consulate.

The strikes come at a time of heightened tensions in the region and fears of a wider spillover of the ongoing war in Gaza.

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Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have launched near-daily drone attacks on bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, which the groups have said was in retaliation for Washington’s support of Israel, and in an attempt to force U.S. troops to leave the region.

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