Aftermath of Iran missile attack
Rudaw footage shows the scale of the damage caused by three Iranian missiles which hit the PDKI headquarters on Saturday.
Khalid Wanawsha, a member of the KDP-I politburo, told Rudaw: “Today around 10:42, a huge sized missile landed at our base hitting the salon of our meeting hall, and the second landed in the front courtyard, and the third one here. Until now, we know of 14 martyrs. There some people missing, we do not know whether or not they are under the rubble of these ruins and a large number were wounded.”
Iraq president Fuad Masum expresses ‘deep sorrow’
Fuad Masum, the Kurdish president of Iraq, said the attack “constitutes a dangerous escalation and a flagrant violation of the country’s security,” according to his media office.
“The president feels deep sorrow and concern,” the statement added, as the incident caused the death and injury of a large number of unarmed civilians, most of them woman and children.
Masum said “excessive force is not a fruitful approach or an alternative to peaceful dialogue.”
“He also praises the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran understanding the usefulness of opening the door of dialogue and understanding with national forces in the interest of the people and the neighboring country of Iran,” the statement added.
PDKI Twitter account publishes video allegedly showing the Iranian missiles being launched. The location of the launch site is yet to be independently verified.
Video footage of Iranian military base from where ballistic missiles were fired at PDKI’s headquarters and refugee camps. Cowardly act by a terrorist regime, which falsely claims that its missile program is defensive!#PDKI #KOYA#rojhelat #twitterkurds #IRGCTerrorist pic.twitter.com/mDkoQXp1Yy
— PDKI (@PDKIenglish) September 8, 2018
40 KDP-I members were in meeting when missiles struck: official
Speaking to Rudaw, Khalid Wanawsha, a member of the KDP-I politburo, has given further details on Saturday’s attack.
The first missile hit the party’s headquarters at 10:42 a.m. while around 40 of its members were meeting to discuss preparations for its 17th party congress. So far, 14 of its members are known to have died, but others buried under the rubble are yet to be identified.
A team made up of Americans and Germans has arrived at the scene to investigate, Wanawsha said.
KDP-I has seen evidence of large, modern missiles and weaponry transferred to the Haji Omoaran border crossing several days ago, he said. The missiles were reportedly fired from a site near the crossing.
Composite photo shows 12 members and officials of both democratic parties of Iranian Kurdistan killed in Saturday’s attack.
Masoud Barzani condemns attack
KDP President Masoud Barzani issued a statement on Saturday’s attack:
“I am very upset for the missile and bomb attacks on the democratic parties’ offices. I am condemning these attacks and extending sincere condolences to the families of the martyrs,” Barzani said, referring to the missile attacks on the PDKI and KDP-I offices in Koya.
“I am calling on all the sides to not turn the Kurdistan Region into a battlefield as the Region itself is locked in great threats, challenges, and problems.”
“I am deeming it important to announce to all the sides that the Kurdish issue cannot be resolved with violence, killing and bombings.”
“Peaceful means are the best approaches to resolving all problems,” he added.
IRGC confirms attack
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) has confirmed its forces fired six ground-to-ground missiles at the bases of Iranian Kurdish parties near Koya on Saturday, according to the IRGC-linked Tabnak news agency.
“In response to the movements of the separatist terrorist groups, the forces of the Revolutionary Guards have targeted the military positions of the terrorist group of the Democratic Party of Iran’s Kurdistan (PDKI) terrorist group and Democrat terrorist group near the town of Koya, located 200 kilometers from the Iranian border,” the IRGC said, according to Tabnak.
Iran shelled the headquarters of Kurdish Iranian parties in the Kurdistan Region in the Koya area on Saturday morning.
The headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in Koya is under Iranian fire, Shoresh Kaka, director of Koya police, confirmed to Rudaw.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I) confirmed their camp was also attacked by “Iranian missiles and aerial attacks” during a party meeting.
The death toll has risen to 16, according to Rudaw’s reporter in Koya, and a further 38 have been wounded.
Ten of the injured are in serious condition and five of them will need to be transferred to Erbil for treatment. Three others have been taken to hospitals in Sulaimani.
PDKI secretary general Mustafa Mawludi and his predecessor Khalid Azizi have been injured in the attack.
A PDKI official, Fuad Khaki, confirmed that their political bureau, training centre, and Peshmerga housing quarters in Koya were targeted by Iranian shelling.
The PDKI was holding a leadership meeting when the attack occurred.
The party said Iran used long-range missiles, injuring 50 refugees living in camps connected with the PDKI base.
“During and after the attack, a drone was flying over Koya,” KDP-I stated.
Iran used long-range missiles in a coordinated attack on PDKI’s bases and adjacent refugee camps. Thus far, 50 refugees have been wounded, while the death toll has risen to 11.#Pdki #TwitterKurds #breakingnews #rojhelatpic.twitter.com/v0VwqPOt06
— PDKI (@PDKIenglish) September 8, 2018
The KRG issued a statement condemning the attack and reiterated its opposition to Kurdish parties from Iran and Turkey using Kurdistan Region territory to launch attacks on neighbouring countries.
Such activity is “not acceptable,” stated the KRG, “and it harms the stability and security of the Kurdistan Region. We hope it is not repeated, Kurdistan Region’s laws are respected, and the Region is not used as a place to settle scores.”
The government stands ready to help victims of the attack, it added.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) also condemned the attack in a statement, saying they have worked for more than 35 years “to avoid unexpected incidents against hospitality and law.”
However, the PUK stressed, “all types of military activities from South Kurdistan and outside the law and security of the region are a violation of all the messages we have conveyed to Kurdistani parties.”
Expressing its support for the Kurdish-Iranian struggle, Gorran described the attack as “genocide and a considerable political violation.”
The party said the KRG should not stay silent and called for an emergency meeting of the regional parliament.
Shaswar Abdulwahid, head of the New Generation, condemned the attack as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and urged the government of Iraq to “protect is borders from any external threats.”
Local authorities in the Kurdistan Region’s border areas with Iran have confirmed that Iran has been shelling the region for several days.
Iranian shelling has sparked fires and forced farmers and their livestock to leave the area that has been under bombardment for four days, according to Abdullah Hussein, the mukhtar (local representative) of Alana village in the border town of Haji Omran.
In the Bradost area, west of Haji Omran, some 200 acres of land has been burned, forcing people to evacuate Barbazin village, the local mukhtar, Mohammed Bradosti, said.
Iranian media reported on Saturday morning that forces had killed six members of PJAK, an offshoot of the PKK that carried out a deadly attack on a border post in July.
PDKI condemned Iran’s “indiscriminate shelling” of the border region in a statement issued on Friday after shelling the day before “caused extensive damage to the environment and to the property of the local civilian population.”
Iran has shelled areas inside the Kurdistan Region on many occasions on the pretext of the presence of armed Kurdish groups on its border.