Iran shells Kurdish rebels in Iraq: Iraqi Kurd official

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Iranian Kurds hold up pictures of five Kurdish rebels, including two women, who were killed last week
© AFP/File Safin Hamed

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) – Iranian artillery bombarded parts of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region where Kurdish rebels opposed to Tehran are said to be holed up, an Iraqi Kurdish official said on Sunday.

“From 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) Saturday until this morning, Iranians fired on the villages of Khanawa, Totma, Marado, Sourkan and Nalia Rach, causing extensive damage to agricultural land and losses of livestock,” said Azad Oussou.

No one was killed or wounded in the shelling.

The incident came three days after Iranian forces on the border with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region mistook Iraqi guards for fighters from the anti-Tehran Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), resulting in armed clashes.

An Iraqi border guard officer was captured but later released.

According to Iran, PJAK rebels shelter in the mountainous border area.

The PJAK is closely allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which operates in Turkey and is listed as a “terrorist” group by Ankara and much of the international community.

In May 2009, Iran launched its first aerial assault against Kurdish rebels in Iraq with helicopters strafing three Kurdish villages. No casualties were reported in the assault.