At least nine people were killed and more than 32 wounded after Iran launched a drone bombing campaign targeting the bases of an Iranian-Kurdish opposition group on Wednesday, Kurdish Regional Government’s Health Ministry said.
The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a leftist armed force banned in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The attacks targeted Koya, some 65 kilometres east of Irbil, said Soran Nuri, a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency and broadcaster said the country’s Revolutionary Guard targeted bases of a separatist group in the north of Iraq with “precision missiles” and “suicide drones”.
The attacks appear to be a response to the ongoing protests in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died after being detained and allegedly beaten by Tehran's morality police.
Amini was originally from Iran's region of Kurdistan, where the protests began following her funeral, spreading to the rest of the country within days.
According to Iranian state television, at least 41 protesters and police have been killed after 12 days of demonstrations. Protests have spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages in Iran.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry and the Kurdistan Regional Government have condemned the strikes.
On Saturday and Monday, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard unleashed a wave of drone and artillery strikes targeting Kurdish positions.
The zone, also home to the US Embassy in Iraq, is a frequent target of rocket and drone attacks that Washington blames on Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups.