Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stated last night that it had struck back at what it identified as the perpetrators of three assassinations. They attacked both the “espionage headquarters” of Israel’s Mossad near Erbil, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region; and the “perpetrators of terrorist operations” (in Iran) at Islamic State sites in Syria. The statement claimed, “Ballistic missiles were used to destroy espionage centers and gatherings of anti-Iranian terrorist groups in the region late tonight.”
IRGC said that striking the espionage headquarters was done in “response to the recent crimes of the terrorist groups that unjustly martyred a group of our dear compatriots in Kerman and Rask.” There were three recent assassinations of note: the Christmas Day strike in Syria that killed high-ranking IRGC Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi, and a pair of separate attacks in Lebanon that had killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri on Jan. 2 and senior Hezbollah military commander Wissam al-Tawil on Jan. 8.
The Times of Israel reported that a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the U.S. tracked the missiles, which hit in northern Iraq and northern Syria, and that no U.S. facilities were struck or damaged. The official added that initial indications were that the strikes were “reckless and imprecise,” suggesting that IRGC had not hit the intended targets.
Iraqi security sources said that one rocket had fallen on the house of a senior Kurdish intelligence official and another on a Kurdish intelligence center. Also, Iraqi security and medical sources said that multimillionaire Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee and several members of his family were among the dead, killed when at least one rocket crashed into their home.