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 Iran again shells Iraqi Kurdistan village

 Source : Reuters | Agencies
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Iran again shells Iraqi Kurdistan village  5.5.2009

May 5, 2009

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Iran shelled a Kurdish village in a remote area of northern Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdistan region on Monday, causing damage to buildings but no casualties, the region's border police said.

Brigadier-General Ahmed Ghraib, head of the border police of Kurdistan's Sulaimaniyah province, where the shelling took place, said the shells landed in a mountainous area bordering Iran.

On Saturday, Iran shelled Kurdish rebel positions in Iraqi Kurdistan and used helicopters to fire on them on the Iranian side of the border.

"Iranian shelling started at 11 a.m. (4:00 a.m. EDT) until 1:15 p.m. (6:15 a.m. EDT) against the villages of Penjwin. No casualties occurred except damage (to buildings)," Ghraib told Reuter.                   

Iranian artillery shelling Kurdish villages in Iraqi Kurdistan region under the pretext of attacking the Iranian Kurdish PJAK rebels
"The people of these villages have deserted the area because of the shelling," he added.

The KRG on Sunday condemned an Iranian air raid against alleged Iranian separatists inside Iraqi Kurdistan but also called on Iranian Kurdish PJAK militants to cease cross-border attacks.

The pro-Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) news agency Peyamner reported that hundreds of Kurdish soldiers (Peshmerga) were sent to the Iranian border

The Iranian attacks followed clashes between Iran's police and guerrillas from the Iranian Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which took up arms in 1984 for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.

Gunmen killed 10 Iranian police in that firefight in western Iran on April 25. Ten PJAK fighters were also killed, Iranian state media said.

Western Iran, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, has seen deadly fighting in recent years between Iranian security forces and PJAK rebels operating out of rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq.

The PJAK, or the (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane) (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), is a militant Kurdish nationalist group based in northern Iraq that has been carrying out attacks Iranian forces in the Kurdistan Province of Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and other Kurdish-inhabited areas.

PJAK is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (Koma Civaken Kurdistan or KCK), which is an alliance of outlawed Kurdish groups and divisions led by an elected Executive Council.

Led by Haji Ahmadi, the PJAK’s objective is to establish a semi-autonomous regional entities or Kurdish federal states in Iran, Turkey and Syria similar to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq.

Since 2004 the PJAK took up arms for self-rule in Kurdistan province northwestern of Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK are women. The PJAK has about 3,000 armed militiamen.

The United States on February 4, 2009 added the Iranian Kurdish PJAK militant group opposed to Iran to its list of terrorist organizations.
The group is closely allied with the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

PKK rear-bases in border districts of northern Iraq were the target of repeated attack by the Turkish and Iranian militaries in December and January and more recently in March and April.

Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities. Estimate to 12 million Kurds live in Iran.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, Reuters | Agencies    


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