Erbil, Iraq
Erbil, IraqiStock

Iraq on Thursday summoned the Iranian ambassador to deliver a diplomatic complaint following a deadly drone bombing campaign a day earlier, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted in The Associated Press.

The Iranian drones targeted an Iranian-Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and wounding 32 others.

Iran’s attacks targeted positions of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in the town of Koya, some 65 kilometers (35 miles) east of Erbil, the main city and capital of Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a leftist armed opposition force banned in Iran.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in its statement that civilians were among those killed. It added that the Iraqi government condemned “this crime, which represented the continuation of Iranian forces’ encroachment on Iraq’s sovereignty.”

The ministry also warned of repercussions on “the societal peace of both countries and on regional security and stability.”

Hours after Wednesday’s attacks, a US official told CNN that the US scrambled an F-15 jet to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to be heading towards US forces in Erbil.

US forces launched the jet after tracking dozens of Iranian short range ballistic missiles headed for Kurdish positions in northern Iraq, two other US officials said.

US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel confirmed to reporters that an American citizen was killed in the rocket attacks in the Iraqi Kurdish region. He offered no additional information, citing privacy concerns, and also reiterated the US condemnation of Iran for the attacks.

Iran has targeted militants based in Iraq’s Kurdish region in the past, but attacks have increased since the weekend. Tehran is accusing Kurdish groups of destabilizing the country by supporting protesters who have demonstrated against Iranian authorities following the death of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested by the morality police in Iran.

Erbil has come under attack several times in recent months. In June, a drone exploded in the city, injuring three people and damaging several cars.

In March, Iran attacked Iraq’s northern city of Erbil with a dozen ballistic missiles.

The Saudi channel Al-Hadath reported at the time that the missiles were fired in retaliation for the killing of two officers from the Revolutionary Guards in an air strike in Syria this week which was attributed to Israel.