This image taken from video provided by Rudaw TV shows smoke rising from a building hit by a strike in Irbil, Iraq, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
This image taken from video provided by Rudaw TV shows smoke rising from a building hit by a strike in Irbil, Iraq, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. Image Credit: AP

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

The security council of the Kurdish regional government said in a statement that four civilians were killed and six injured in the strikes.

Peshraw Dizayi, a prominent local businessman with a portfolio that included real estate and security services companies, was killed in one of the strikes along with members of his family, according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, by former Iraqi member of parliament Mashan Al Jabouri, who said that one of the missiles had fallen on Dizayi’s “palace, next to my house, which is under construction on the road to the Salah Al Din resort.”

Other regional political figures also confirmed Dizayi's death.

'Mossad headquarters', Daesh targets hit

Soon after, a statement from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on state media said it had struck “terrorist operations” including Daesh 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 Daesh extremist group claimed responsibility earlier this month for two suicide bombings targeting a commemoration for an Iranian general slain in a 2020 US drone strike. The attack in Kerman killed at least 84 people and wounded an additional 284 at a ceremony honoring Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani.

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

Missiles fell near the US consulate

An 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 US consulate. He said the missiles were launched by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

A US defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that had not been made public said the US tracked the missiles, which hit in northern Iraq and northern Syria, and no US facilities were struck or damaged in the attacks. The official said initial indications were that the strike were “reckless and imprecise.”

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

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7 , Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have launched near-daily drone attacks on bases housing US 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 US troops to leave the region.

US condemns 'reckless' missile strikes
Washington: The United States on Monday slammed Iran for its "reckless" deadly missile attacks on targets in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, warning they undermine stability.

"The United States strongly condemns Iran's attacks in Erbil today and offers condolences to the families of those who were killed. We oppose Iran's reckless missile strikes, which undermine Iraq's stability," US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.