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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

UK lashes out at Iran over missile attack in Iraqi Kurdistan

At least 17 people were killed in the attack that targeted Iranian Kurdish separatists (EPA) 
At least 17 people were killed in the attack that targeted Iranian Kurdish separatists (EPA) 

The UK has condemned in “the strongest terms” an Iran attack on an Iranian Kurdish opposition base in north-east Iraq that killed at least 17 people. It follows a US rebuke of the missile assault, that officials insist came from inside Iran, that targeted The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan at its base in northern Iraq.

“The UK further condemns in the strongest terms any violence directed against diplomatic missions, including those of the US, as we have witnessed in Basra and Baghdad in recent days,” a government spokesman said.

“The Iranian attack on Koya was disproportionate and dangerous. The UK supports the statements issued by the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Regional Government and UNAMI. We urge all parties to show restraint, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,” the spokesman added.

The White House has also accused Iranian-backed militias of “life-threatening attacks” on US facilities in Baghdad and Basra recently. A report by the Counter Extremism Project said three of the most powerful of these groups were Asaib Ahl al-Haq, The Badr Organisation Kata'ib Hezbollah. The latter has been officials designated as a terrorist organisation by the US.

Qatar paid at least $275 million to Kata'ib Hezbollah and other groups, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to win the release of nine members of the Qatari royal family and 16 other Qataris kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq.

All the groups are part of an Iraqi government approved umbrella group of predominantly Shiite fighters with strong ties to Iran. They are all hostile to the US and have carried out repeated attacks before, during and after the Iraq War.

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“The UK continues to urge all parties to proceed with the formation of an inclusive government in accordance with the constitutional timeline, which will address the needs and hopes of all Iraqi citizens,” the UK government spokesman added.

“Vice President Mike Pence spoke today with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government,” according to a White House statement issued on Monday.

“Vice President Pence condemned Iran’s recent rocket attacks into the Kurdistan Region as an effort to threaten and destabilise its closest neighbour.”

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