Middle East crisis live: US condemns Iran’s ‘reckless missile strikes’ in northern Iraq | Middle East and north Africa

US condemns Iranian attack in northern Iraq

A US state department spokesperson has said that an Iranian attack near Iraq’s northern city of Erbil on Monday “undermine Iraq’s stability.”

“We oppose Iran’s reckless missile strikes,” Matthew Miller said, adding that the US supported “the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people.”

Iran claimed that Monday’s attacks targeted the “espionage headquarters” of Israel. At least four civilians were killed and six injured in the strikes, the Kurdistan government’s security council said in a statement, describing the attack as a “crime”.

Millionaire Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee and several members of his family were among the dead, killed when at least one rocket crashed into their home, Iraqi security and medical sources said.

Additionally, one rocket had fallen on the house of a senior Kurdish intelligence official and another on a Kurdish intelligence centre, the security sources said.

No US facilities were affected by the missiles strikes, two US officials told the Reuters news agency earlier.

Key events

Egyptian authorities reportedly thwarted a drug smuggling attempt on the Egyptian-Israeli border on Monday.

Two security sources told the Reuters news agency that there was an exchange of gunfire close to a crossing where aid deliveries for Gaza were being inspected. During the incident, six drug smugglers were arrested, the sources said.

An Israeli official also said the suspects were most likely trying to smuggle drugs across the border from Egypt, which has been at peace with Israel for decades.

An Israeli army spokesperson said 20 “suspects”, including gunmen, approached the border before being fired at by soldiers operating in the area. Injuries were reported, he added.

The crossing is just over 40km south of Rafah, the main crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on the enclave since 2007, when Hamas took control there.

Since war broke out between Israel and Hamas on 7 October, Rafah has been the main entry and exit point for humanitarian supplies being sent into Gaza.

Here’s more on the comments from Israel’s defence minister, who has said that the intense military operation in southern Gaza is winding down:

Yoav Gallant told a news conference on Monday that an “intense manoeuvring stage” due to last around three months “will end soon” in southern Gaza.

He said the stage was already being reached in northern Gaza, with Israel’s army confirming one of its four divisions in the territory has completed its withdrawal on Monday.

The army had stepped up operations and bombardments in the southern cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah in recent weeks after saying Hamas’s military structures in the north had been dismantled.

But Israel is facing heavy international pressure over Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and the growing number of civilian casualties, with the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry reporting 60 deaths in overnight bombardments Sunday into Monday.

Jason Burke

Jason Burke

Aid officials in Gaza believe that pockets of famine already exist in the territory, with parents sacrificing remaining food for their children, an apple costing $8 and fuel for cooking almost impossible to find.

UN agencies have said that Gaza urgently needs more humanitarian assistance as Palestinian authorities reported that the death toll in the territory during the Israeli offensive there had risen to more than 24,000.

The World Food Programme, Unicef and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement that new entry routes needed to be opened to Gaza, more trucks needed to be allowed in each day, and aid workers and those seeking aid needed to be allowed to move around safely.

The UN agencies did not directly blame Israel but said aid delivery was hindered by the opening of too few border crossings from Israel, a slow vetting process for trucks and goods going into Gaza, and continuing fighting.

Doctors in Gaza said that children, weakened by lack of food, had died from hypothermia and that several newborn babies with mothers who were undernourished had not survived for more than a few days.

“We don’t have the numbers but we can say that children are dying as a result of the humanitarian situation on the ground as well as due to the direct impact of the fighting,” said Tess Ingram, a spokesperson for the United Nations Children Fund, who is in Rafah.

US condemns Iranian attack in northern Iraq

A US state department spokesperson has said that an Iranian attack near Iraq’s northern city of Erbil on Monday “undermine Iraq’s stability.”

“We oppose Iran’s reckless missile strikes,” Matthew Miller said, adding that the US supported “the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people.”

Iran claimed that Monday’s attacks targeted the “espionage headquarters” of Israel. At least four civilians were killed and six injured in the strikes, the Kurdistan government’s security council said in a statement, describing the attack as a “crime”.

Millionaire Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee and several members of his family were among the dead, killed when at least one rocket crashed into their home, Iraqi security and medical sources said.

Additionally, one rocket had fallen on the house of a senior Kurdish intelligence official and another on a Kurdish intelligence centre, the security sources said.

No US facilities were affected by the missiles strikes, two US officials told the Reuters news agency earlier.

Welcome and summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the crisis in the Middle East.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have claimed credit for an attack on Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which left at least four people dead.

Iranian state media said that an Israeli spy base had been targeted, however those claims could not be verified.

We’ll have more on this shortly; first here’s a round-up of the day’s other major news.

  • Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said today that the country’s intense military operation in southern Gaza was nearing its end. However, Gallant noted that Hamas would not agree to release any more hostages without continued military pressure. He accused the Islamist militant group of carrying out “psychological abuse”.

  • An anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Iran-backed Houthi militants struck a Marshall Islands-flagged, US-owned and operated container ship about 100 miles off the Gulf of Aden, the US military confirmed. The ship has reported no injuries or significant damage and is continuing its journey.

  • The strike on the Gibraltar Eagle marks a widening of the theatre of war and raises questions about whether the US-UK naval alliance off Yemen will have to mount a further series of strikes, or even consider liaising actively with ground troops from the UN recognised Presidential Leadership Council – the Saudi-UAE backed coalition government based in Aden.

  • Hamas released a video announcing the death of two Israeli hostages and claimed that they had beenn killed by Israeli airstrikes. The two men are believed to be Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itay Svirsky, 38. Israel says 132 hostages are still being held by the Islamist militant group and that 25 have died in captivity. The IDF has denied that they were killed by an airstrike.

  • Two young French nationals were injured in Monday’s attack in Raanana, Israel, the French foreign ministry said in a statement, condemning the attack.

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