Israel-Hamas war: Iran says it struck Israel's 'spy headquarters' in Iraq's Kurdistan (VIDEO)


Tuesday, 16 January 2024 (11:20 IST)
Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they attacked Israel's "spy headquarters" in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, state media reported late Monday. 
"Ballistic missiles were used to destroy espionage centers and gatherings of anti-Iranian terrorist groups in the region late tonight," the Guards said in a statement, naming Israel's Mossad spy agency.

In another statement, the Revolutionary Guards said it had hit "terrorist operations" including so-called "Islamic State" targets in Syria "and destroyed them by firing a number of ballistic missiles."
Explosions were heard in an area about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Erbil in the Kurdistan region, three security sources said, in a neighborhood near the US consulate as well as civilian residences. No US facilities were hit by the missile strikes, US officials told Reuters news agency.
At least four civilians were killed and six injured in the strikes on Erbil, the Kurdish government said in a statement, calling the attack a "crime." Multimillionaire Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee and several members of his family were  reported among the dead.
The strikes come at a time of heightened tension in the region and fears of a wider spillover from the ongoing war in Gaza.
Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have launched near-daily drone attacks on bases housing US military forces in Iraq and Syria, in what the groups say is retaliation for Washington's support of Israel and an attempt to force US troops to leave the region.
Israeli minister: Intensive phase of war in south Gaza 'will end soon'
The intensive phase of Israel's war with Hamas militants in southern Gaza will end soon, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
The army had stepped up military operations and bombardments in the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah in recent weeks after saying Hamas's military structures in the north had been dismantled.
"We made it clear that the intensive maneuvering stage would last for approximately three months," Gallant told a news conference. He said the stage was already being reached in the northern Gaza Strip. 
"In southern Gaza we will reach this achievement and it will end soon, and in both places, the moment will come when we will move to the next phase," he said, without specifying a time frame.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said on its website an entire division of soldiers had completed their withdrawal from Gaza on Monday, after having "eliminated hundreds of terrorists" and destroyed kilometers of tunnels in central and northern areas of the Palestinian territory.
Israel had four divisions operating in Gaza before Monday's announced withdrawal, though it was unclear how many soldiers were involved in the pullout.

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