BAGHDAD — Thirteen people have been killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, officials say, as Iran launched missiles and armed drones at what it said were bases of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups.
A pregnant woman was reportedly among those who died in the strikes.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said it hit “separatist terrorists” who had supported recent “riots”.
Anti-government protests have swept across Iran since the death in custody of a Kurdish woman there 12 days ago.
Mahsa Amini, 22, from the north-western city of Saqez, was visiting Tehran when she was detained by morality police for allegedly violating the strict law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf.
The police said Ms Amini collapsed at a detention center after suffering sudden heart failure. But her family have dismissed that and alleged that she was beaten by officers. She died in hospital following three days in a coma.
Kurdish human rights group Hengaw said on Monday that 18 Kurdish protesters had been killed by security forces, 898 others injured and more than 1,000 arrested as Iranian authorities sought to suppress the dissent in the region and elsewhere.
Another group, Iran Human Rights, has put the nationwide toll among protesters at 76, while state media have reported that 41 people have died, including security personnel and pro-government militiamen.
Iranian authorities have blamed the unrest on “rioters” linked to “foreign enemies” and accused armed Iranian Kurdish opposition groups operating in neighboring Iraq of infiltrating Kurdish areas of Iran to “sow insecurity”.
On Wednesday, the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said it had struck the main bases of Komala, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), with “precision-guided missiles and assault drones” for the third time in four days.
The strikes would continue until the threat was “decisively” removed, the force warned.
Komala confirmed that 10 drones landed the Zargwez area, PAK said it headquarters in Sherawa was hit, and the PDKI said its bases and headquarters in Koy Sanjaq were struck.
“Attacks on opposition groups through the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missiles, under any pretext, is an incorrect stance which promotes a misleading interpretation of the course of events,” the Kurdistan Regional Government said in a statement.
Iraq’s federal government also condemned the strikes, while the UN mission in the country warned Iran that “rocket diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences”.
The US said Iran “cannot deflect blame from its internal problems and the legitimate grievances of its population with attacks across its borders”. — BBC