Iran attacks Iranian Kurdish opposition group base in Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iran attacked the base of an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and wounding scores more, Iraqi Kurdish officials said.

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), an armed opposition group fighting for greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish community, tweeted pictures and video of explosions, as well as of the wounded, at its headquarters in Koya, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

“According to initial reports, 11 people were killed and between 20 and 30 wounded,” said Major General Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga security forces.

“The strike targeted a conference held by the political office of the party this morning.”

He said the attack had come from Iranian territory, but that his government had not yet determined whether it had been air strikes or ground-based firing.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment, and there were no reports of the incident on the main Iranian news agencies.

The PDKI, on its verified Twitter account, said that “Iran used long-range missiles in a coordinated attack on PDKI’s bases and adjacent refugee camps”.

Yawar said the area that had been attacked included a residential complex for the families of party members.

Iran has in the past shelled armed Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq.

On Friday, the PDKI said it had come under shelling on Thursday, but no casualties were reported.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) condemned the shelling on Saturday, saying Kurdish laws and territorial integrity should be respected.

Turkey has also ramped up air strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq this year. It routinely targets the PKK stronghold in the Qandil mountains, near the border with Iran, where Ankara suspects high-ranking members of the militant group are located.

Reporting by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Kevin Liffey