By Russ Read, Daily Caller
Monday, 27 June 2016
Iranian forces shelled several positions in Iraqi Kurdistan Sunday, injuring five civilians, including three children, and breaching the country’s sovereignty.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leaders excused the attack, claiming they were targeting “terrorists” operating in the region. Video recorded during the attacks showed women and children fleeing from a camp as shells exploded in the hills around them.
Kanan Kanabi, a local health official from a nearby district said that ambulances and first aid teams were deployed to assist the fleeing civilians. A correspondent with Kurdistan’s Rudaw news outlet has reported that the attacks have terrified the local civilian population.
Iran claimed that its forces were targeting militants belonging to the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), a Kurdish nationalist group which has been suppressed by the Islamic Republic since the revolution in 1979.
IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour defended the savage attacks Monday, and warned that his forces would continue to target any group that Iran perceives as a threat, no matter where they are located.
“Given the fact that the main strongholds of these terrorists is in Northern Iraq, their positions will be targeted at any point and region in case they don’t act upon their undertakings and in a bid to prevent the repetition of anti-security moves and measures,” Pakpour told Iranian state media Fars News, a known government mouthpiece.
Both Kurdish and Iranian media outlets have reported that Kurdish and Iranian forces have clashed several times over the last few days. In a separate statement last week, Pakpour blamed the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for supporting the various Kurdish groups his forces have targeted.
Sunday’s shelling follows Iranian government claim that its security forces stopped several major terror plots across the country last Monday. Several experts told The Daily Caller News Foundation that they were skeptical of the claims, instead estimating that it was a manufactured excuse for the Islamic Republic to crack down on minority groups inside Iran.
“Iran is about 10 percent Sunni, and many of the Sunnis are discriminated against two-fold: first on the basis of their sectarian identity and second on the basis of their often minority ethnicity,” Michael Rubin, an expert on Iran at the American Enterprise Institute, told The DCNF.