Iran claimed responsibility for a missile strike Sunday on the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, saying it targeted an Israeli “strategic centre”.
Authorities in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region had earlier said 12 ballistic missiles rained down on Arbil in a pre-dawn attack targeting US interests that slightly wounded two civilians and caused material damage.
The missiles came from beyond Iraq’s eastern border, Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism unit announced — in effect saying they were fired from Iran, a nation which wields considerable political and economic influence over Baghdad.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards later confirmed they fired the projectiles, claiming they were targeting sites used by Israel, a top ally of the US.
A “strategic centre for conspiracy and mischiefs of the Zionists was targeted by powerful precision missiles fired by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps”, the Guards said in a statement.
Sunday’s assault comes nearly a week after the Guards — Iran’s ideological army — vowed to avenge the death of two of their officers killed in a rocket attack in Syria they blamed on Israel. Iran backs the government in Syria’s civil war.
Israel, the Guards said at the time, “will pay for this crime”.
There was no immediate reaction from Israel to Sunday’s missile attack and Kurdish authorities insisted that the Jewish state has no sites in or anywhere near Arbil.
Kurdish authorities said the target of the attack was the Arbil consulate of the United States.