IRAN SHELLS Northern Iraqi Villages
Iran denied reports today that it dropped leaflets from helicopters warning locals to evacuate ahead of an Iranian military offensive against Kurdish rebels.
The leaflets said that Iran was ready to “cleanse” the area.
PKK fighters attend a training session in Northern Iraq, June 2007. Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds have fled remote mountain villages near the country’s eastern frontier as Iranian gunners target separatist guerrilla bases, local officials said Monday.(AFP/Mustafa Ozer)
MOUNT QANDIL, Iraq, 21 August 2007: Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds have
fled remotemountain villages near the country’s eastern frontier as Iranian
gunnerstarget separatist guerrilla bases, local officials said yesterday.
“About150 families have left eight villages. We are very concerned about
thesituation in the area. If the shelling continues, we may have to declare
anemergency situation,” said Hussein Ahmed, governor of Qalaa Diza
Kurdish Media has this account on the clashes:
Iraqi Kurdish officials expressed deepening concern yesterday at an upsurge in fierce clashes between Kurdish guerrillas and Iranian forces in the remote border area of north-east Iraq, where Tehran has recently deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards.
Jabar Yawar, a deputy minister in the Kurdistan regional government, said four days of intermittent shelling by Iranian forces had hit mountain villages high up on the Iraqi side of the border, wounding two women, destroying livestock and property, and displacing about 1,000 people from their homes. Mr Yawer said there had also been intense fighting on the Iraqi border between Iranian forces and guerrillas of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), an armed Iranian Kurdish group that is stepping up its campaign for Kurdish rights against the theocratic regime in Tehran.
On Saturday the Iranian news agency Mehr said an Iranian army helicopter which crashed killing six Republican Guard members had been engaged in a military operation against PJAK. Iranian officials said the helicopter had crashed into the side of a mountain during bad weather in northern Iraq. PJAK sources said the helicopter had been destroyed after it attempted to land in a clearing mined by guerrillas. The PJAK sources claimed its guerrillas had also killed at least five other Iranian soldiers, and a local pro-regime chief, Hussein Bapir.
Jeff Emanuel has more on this tense situation from Mosul.