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Amid protests, Iran’s Guard strikes Kurdish groups in Iraq with drones and artillery

Revolutionary Guard hits alleged bases of Iranian Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, while protests rage over death of Iranian Kurdish woman held by so-called ‘morality police’

Illustrative: Iraqi Kurds commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Kurdistan Region's independence referendum in Erbil, on September 25, 2022. (Safin Hamed/AFP)
Illustrative: Iraqi Kurds commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Kurdistan Region's independence referendum in Erbil, on September 25, 2022. (Safin Hamed/AFP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard on Monday unleashed a wave of drone strikes and artillery, targeting what Tehran says are bases of Iranian Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, a semiofficial news agency reported.

It was the second such cross-border assault since the weekend, at a time when Iran is convulsing with protests over the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was been detained by the nation’s morality police.

On Saturday, the Guard said it targeted bases and training camps of Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq, claiming it inflicted serious damage.

Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini have spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages. Iranian state TV has suggested that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the protests began September 17.

An Associated Press count of official statements by authorities tallied at least 13 dead, with more than 1,200 demonstrators arrested.

In Monday’s report, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency said the Guard’s attacks were in response to the support that the separatists have allegedly provided for the unrest inside Iran, as well as their attempts to smuggle in weapons.

A police motorcycle burns during a protest, in downtown Tehran, Iran, September 19, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

Last year, the Guard similarly attacked what it called bases of “terrorist groups” in northern Iraq.

There was no immediate comment from the Iraqi government. The two neighboring countries have close political and military ties, and Tehran had provided extensive military support for Baghdad, during its yearslong war against the extremist Islamic State group.

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