Iraq summons Iranian ambassador after drone bombing

BAGHDAD — Iraq on Thursday summoned the Iranian ambassador to lodge a diplomatic complaint after a deadly drone bombing campaign, the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Iranian drones targeted an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring 32 others. The strikes took place as demonstrations continued to engulf the Islamic Republic after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman who died while detained by Iran’s morality police.

Iran’s attacks targeted positions of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in the town of Koya, some 65 kilometers (35 miles) east of Irbil, the main city and capital of Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a left-wing armed opposition force banned in Iran.

The State Department said in its statement that civilians were among the dead. It added that the Iraqi government condemned “this crime, which represented the continued encroachment of Iraqi sovereignty by Iranian forces.”

The ministry also warned of consequences for “the social peace of both countries and for regional security and stability”.

The state-run IRNA news agency and broadcaster said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has targeted bases of a separatist group in northern Iraq with “precision missiles” and “suicide drones.”

Gene. Hasan Hasanzadeh of the Revolutionary Guards said 185 members of the Basij, a voluntary force, were injured by “machetes and knives” during the unrest in Iran. Hasanzadeh also said rioters broke the skull of a Basij member. He added that five Basij members in intensive care have been hospitalized.

Organizations from the United Nations, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom all condemned the attacks on northern Iraq.

The UN mission in Iraq said in a tweet that the country in the Middle East cannot be treated as “the backyard” of the region, where neighbors routinely violate their sovereignty with impunity.”

“Missile diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences,” the UN mission said.

In Washington, US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel confirmed to reporters that a US citizen was killed in the missile strikes in the Iraqi Kurdish region. He offered no additional information, citing privacy concerns, and also reiterated the US condemnation of Iran for the attacks.

Protests in Iran have raged after Amini’s death in custody in Tehran, spreading across at least 46 cities and towns across Iran. State television reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the demonstrations began on September 17. An Associated Press tally of official statements from authorities found at least 14 dead, and more than 1,500 protesters were arrested.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s defense minister said Turkish military aircraft have launched a new air offensive against suspected refuges of Kurdish separatists from Turkey in northern Iraq, as deep as 149 kilometers into Iraqi territory.

The jets targeted 16 caves, shelters and command centers reportedly used by the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq’s Asos region on Sept. 27, Hulusi Akar told reporters. He gave no further details.

The PKK maintains bases across the border in Iraq and has been leading an armed insurgency in Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

The Turkish military has launched numerous cross-border offensives in Iraq over the years to pursue PKK militants.

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