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What were Iran’s motives for striking Mossad?: Investigative website weighs in

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo released by Iraqi media shows the site of a missile attack in Erbil, Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, March 13, 2022.

An investigative journalism website weighs in on Iran’s motives for its recent retaliatory strike against the Israeli spy agency Mossad’s centers in the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s capital Erbil.

In an analytical feature published on Wednesday, The Cradle sounded out several regional officials for their take on the Sunday counterstrike—which the website reported earlier—has killed three Mossad operatives and injured seven others of them.

‘A wholly different counterstrike’

“The Iranian attack on Erbil did not happen without a reason. Attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan have happened before – 27 times to be precise…Yet this one differs a lot from previous attacks,” the official spokesman of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party’s Erbil office, Azad Cola, told the website in an exclusive interview.

‘Confronting Mossad’

He confirmed that Mossad was among the many intelligence apparatuses that maintained a presence in Kurdistan.

“So yes, there is – among others – an Israeli Mossad presence. And this presence provokes Iran to attack their sites in the Kurdistan region. Iran has done this before, and will probably do it again.”

‘Targeting gas exports to Israel’

According to the website, one of the buildings that were hit during the retaliation was a villa owned by the CEO of the Iraqi Kurdish oil company KAR group, Sheikh Baz Karim Barzinji.

“Kurdish politician Hiwa Seid Salim told The Cradle he suspects the reason for the Iranian attack on Barzinji’s villa was due to his business activities,” which reportedly includes selling of the Iraqi oil and gas to Israel, the report said.

Cola did not rule out that the building must have been housing Mossad’s agents, citing its heavily-fortified structure.

“This villa compound is closed off to the public, it has walls and barbed wire, security guards, checkpoints around, and nobody is allowed to approach the compound. Nobody could approach the compound as it was heavily secured. If this villa compound is targeted with missile attacks by the Iranians, this is not done without a reason. All people here in Erbil are ready to accept this reality,” he said.

The official, meanwhile, roundly rejected the narrative, which was being strongly promoted by the dominant Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) concerning the attack, that the villa in question was only accommodating the businessman and his family.

‘What would Iran have to do bombarding the house of a businessman and his family, why would it target it? How come the house received 12 missiles and is in ruins, but there is no family member or personnel of sheikh Baz Karim wounded or dead in the attack?”

“…it looks like something was definitely going on at this site. There should and will be more investigations about what was going on at this site.”

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