Drone Attack Kills 3 Counterterrorist Fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Middle East|Drone Attack Kills 3 Counterterrorist Fighters successful Iraqi Kurdistan


Drone attacks successful the Kurdistan portion usually people insurgent groups warring against Turkey and Iran; this 1 struck an elite Iraqi Kurdish information force.

Damaged buildings astatine  an airfield adjacent   Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.
The airfield utilized by Iraqi Kurdish counterterrorism forces adjacent Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, aft a drone onslaught connected Monday.Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sept. 18, 2023, 5:27 p.m. ET

A drone onslaught connected a tiny airdrome killed 3 members of an elite Iraqi Kurdish counterterrorism task unit that operates successful the semiautonomous portion of Kurdistan successful bluish Iraq.

Three task unit members were besides wounded successful the onslaught connected the airport, which is astir 17 miles southeast of Sulaymaniyah, the 2nd largest metropolis successful Kurdistan.

Turkey and much precocious Iran person targeted Kurdish militants from their respective countries who structure successful Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The airport, mostly utilized by tiny cultivation planes for spraying pesticides, was precocious repurposed to besides beryllium utilized arsenic a grooming campy for Kurdish counterterrorism forces. The elite forces were focused chiefly connected Islamic State fighters successful caller years, but present determination are different Islamic militant groups that besides determination done Iraq’s porous borders with Iran and Turkey.

“We powerfully condemn the violent attack,” said Bafel Talabani, president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, 1 of the 2 main governmental parties successful Kurdistan and the ascendant 1 successful Sulaymaniyah. “This transgression enactment is an unfastened trespassing of the borderline of the Kurdistan Region and of Iraq, and it is portion of the conspiracy aimed astatine disturbing the bid and stableness of the Kurdistan Region.”

Mr. Talabani did not accidental which state oregon radical helium believed was liable for the attack.

Officials successful Baghdad did not instantly remark connected the attack.

Turkey has been peculiarly assertive successful utilizing drone attacks to people the insurgent Turkish-Kurdish group, the P.K.K., regularly bombing sites successful Iraqi Kurdistan.

In April, a akin drone onslaught happened adjacent the planetary airdrome successful Sulaymaniyah, but determination were nary casualties. Turkey denied work for that attack.

Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar, the erstwhile curate of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan region’s subject force, said the onslaught connected Monday followed the signifier of Turkey’s erstwhile ones.

“We regular grounds violations by Turkey connected our borders, and we bash not cognize erstwhile these attacks volition halt and erstwhile the cardinal authorities would intervene to extremity these intrusions,” helium said successful an interview, adding that successful 2023 alone, information officials had tracked much than 200 times that Turkey had either tried to breach oregon had breached Iraqi territory.

The International Crisis Group has documented a rising number of attacks by Turkey connected P.K.K. militants wrong Iraq betwixt 2018 and 2022, with the fig topping 300 successful 2022.

Turkey has fought for decades against the P.K.K., which undertook a convulsive insurgency archetypal wrong Turkey and then, aft astir of its fighters fled to Iraq, staged attacks from there. The United States and the European Union see the P.K.K. a violent organization.

Alissa J. Rubin reported from Baghdad. Kamil Kakol contributed reporting from Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, and Falih Hassan contributed from Baghdad.

Alissa J. Rubin covers clime alteration and struggle successful the Middle East. She antecedently reported for much than a decennary from Baghdad and Kabul, Afghanistan, and was the Paris bureau chief. More astir Alissa J. Rubin

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