Iran said Monday that its latest strikes on Kurdish opposition bases in northern Iraq were necessary to protect the country's borders, while Kurdish officials condemned the missile and drone attacks as unprovoked aggression.
Iran’s strike late Sunday killed a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, said Mohammed Nazif Qaderi, a senior official in the Kurdish Iranian group exiled in Iraq.
The group said Iranian surface-to-surface missiles and drones hit its bases and adjacent refugee camps in Koya and Jejnikan. The group also asserted that the strikes had hit a hospital in Koya.
The Iranian strikes come in the wake of a visit to Baghdad last week by Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani. During the visit, Ghaani threatened Iraq with a ground military operation in the country’s north if the Iraqi army does not fortify the countries’ shared border against Kurdish opposition groups, Iraqi and Kurdish officials said.
Some Kurdish groups have been engaged in a low-intensity conflict with Tehran since the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, with many members seeking political exile in neighboring Iraq where they have established bases.Iran alleges that these groups are inciting anti-government protests in Iran and smuggling weapons into the country, which Kurdish groups have denied.
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