WATCH aftermath of Iranian strikes near US consulate
Tehran’s Foreign Ministry has claimed that missile attacks launched by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on an alleged Israeli “espionage center” in Iraq and an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist base in Syria were a “just punishment” against those who have attempted to undermine the country’s security. Several Iranian media outlets have released footage showing both the strikes themselves and their aftermath.
On Monday, the IRGC said that the attacks targeted a Mossad-linked facility in Erbil as well as an IS stronghold in Syria’s Idlib province. The group described the strikes as retaliation for “the recent crimes of the terrorist groups that unjustly martyred a group of our dear compatriots in Kerman and Rask.”
A blast in Kerman earlier this month claimed the lives of almost 100 people attending a ceremony honoring the late General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a US airstrike several years ago. Although Iran blamed the US and Israel for the explosion, IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
A suicide bombing in the town of Rask killed 11 Iranian police officers; while Tehran accused Israel of being behind the attack, it was eventually claimed by the Pakistan-based jihadist group Jaish al-Adl.
Photos show the aftermath of IRGC’s missile attack on an Israeli espionage center in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. pic.twitter.com/ERL5HJS6b8— Press TV (@PressTV) January 16, 2024
The IRGC struck Erbil not far from the Iraqi Kurdish city’s local US consulate, prompting Washington to denounce the barrage as “reckless and imprecise.”
Footage shows Iran's IRGC firing ballistic missiles at anti-Iran terrorists’ bases in Syria as well as an Israeli espionage center in the Iraqi Kurdistan region pic.twitter.com/beZ0IArHJB— Press TV (@PressTV) January 16, 2024
The Iranian outlet Press TV released footage of the IRGC firing ballistic missiles at targets in Erbil and Idlib as well as pictures of what it said were the ruins of Israel’s spy center. ISNA news agency also shared photos of what it claimed to be a severely damaged “terrorist headquarters” in Syria.
Commenting on the barrage on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanani stressed that “the action was taken in line with the strong defense of the country’s sovereignty and security, and countering terrorism.” He added that while Tehran always strives for peace, it will not hesitate to “punish criminals” who threaten the country’s national security.
The IRGC strikes come amid a new escalation in the Middle East, fueled by the current Israel-Hamas conflict. After the Palestinian armed group launched its notorious October 7 attack, Tehran supported its actions while denying involvement in orchestrating the offensive. Iran has also repeatedly condemned Israel for what it called “military attacks… on the defenseless citizens” in Gaza.