A missile strike over the weekend on an alleged Mossad compound in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, has left three dead and seven seriously wounded, according to a senior Iranian security source close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), which has claimed responsibility for the strike.
At roughly 1:20 am on Sunday, March 13, the IRGC launched 12 Fateh missiles, powerful short-range ballistic missiles developed by Iran, at a compound in Erbil near the U.S. consulate in the autonomous Kurdistan region.
According to The Cradle, which spoke with an unnamed Iranian official about the attack, the primary target in the assault was an undercover Mossad compound.
“This operation sends a message to all countries in the region that Iran is sensitive to the Israeli regime’s activities near its borders and does not tolerate it,” the Iranian official stated.
The Times of Israel also quoted a statement from the IRGC which claimed the target was an Israeli “strategic center.”
This “strategic center for conspiracy and mischiefs of the Zionists was targeted by powerful precision missiles fired by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” the statement read in part.
“The operation has so far killed three people, two of them senior officers, and estimates show seven wounded, some of whom are probably in critical condition,” the unnamed Iranian official alleged.
The attack was purportedly in response to an Israeli attack on an IRGC-operated drone base in the Mahidasht district of Kermanshah, inside Iran’s borders. That attack did not result in any casualties, but once Iran learned that the operation was allegedly organized in Iraq by Israel’s Mossad, the missile strike against the compound in Erbil was planned.
Kurdish and U.S. officials strongly condemned the attack.
“We condemn this terrorist attack launched against several sectors of Erbil, we call on the inhabitants to remain calm,” Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said following the attack.
U.S. officials denounced what they called an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence.”
The unnamed Iranian official quoted by The Cradle described the Mossad base in Erbil as “unofficial and hidden – in the form of two villas that had a normal appearance.”
“The structure of these two villas had two roofs that completely protected it from 240mm missiles,” he continued. “An explosion-proof engineering roof under a shock-absorbing roof that had two layers under the gable roof.”
The external perimeter of the compound was apparently guarded by Kurdish forces, who were not allowed access or entry to the buildings themselves, according to the Iranian official, who noted Iranian intelligence had been monitoring the compound for some time.
“This facility was a place of entertainment for the [Israeli] regime’s officers and cyber-electronic staff based in the region, so there was not much traffic during the week, and we mostly saw their presence on the weekends,” the source noted.
Shortly after the strike, a senior U.S. official told Eric Schmitt, a reporter for the New York Times, that the targeted building “served as an Israeli training facility.” That statement was quickly rescinded, however, with U.S. officials later insisting that the facility was a civilian residence and not an Israeli training site.
2/ In thread also update from @EricSchmittNYT: A senior Biden administration official refuted the earlier comment by a US official, saying the administration believes that the building that was hit was a civilian residence only and did not also serve as an Israeli training site.
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) March 14, 2022
Many Middle East observers fear the covert drone war between Iran and Israel could perhaps escalate into a full out war. Israel has repeatedly launched missile assaults on Iranian and Syrian targets in the region, with Iran retaliating shortly after.