Iran targets Kurdish groups in Iraq with new strikes

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Iran launched new cross-border missile and drone strikes Tuesday against Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups based in northern Iraq whom it accuses of stoking a wave of protests in the Islamic Republic.

Iran has been shaken by more than two months of civil unrest sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest for allegedly breaching the strict dress code for women.

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Iran’s Tasnim news agency said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had “launched a new round of attacks against terrorist groups based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region,” the second such strikes in two days.

The report said the headquarters of the Kurdistan Freedom Party “was targeted by missiles and suicide drones” near Kirkuk.

An Iraqi Kurdish military official, a local police officer and a party spokesman confirmed renewed strikes on the region to AFP.

“We had taken our precautions and emptied the premises, there were no casualties,” Kurdistan Freedom Party spokesman Khalil Nadri told AFP.

Kurdistan regional government spokesman Lawk Ghafuri said on Twitter: “Today the Islamic Republic of Iran targeted Iranian opposition groups in two areas in the Kurdistan region with rockets.”

He said the sites hit were in the city of Perdi, the Kurdish name of Altun Kupri, north of Kirkuk, and the Degala region east of Arbil, the regional capital.

Iraqi Kurdistan has since the 1980s hosted several Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups which have in the past waged an armed insurrection against Tehran.

In recent years their activities have declined, but the new wave of protests in Iran has again stoked tensions.

Rights groups on Monday also accused Iranian security forces of using live fire and heavy weapons to suppress protests in Kurdish-populated regions in Iran’s west, intensifying a deadly crackdown there.

Late Sunday night, IRGC missile fire and suicide drone strikes targeted the bases of several Iranian opposition factions in north Iraq, killing one person.

These cross-border strikes come less than a week after similar attacks killed at least one person, and following attacks in late September that killed more than a dozen people.

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