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August 20, 2007
Iran Shelling Kurdish Villages in Iraq
The autonomous Kurdish government of Iraq is reporting that the Iranians are shelling Kurdish villages in their continuing war against separatists in the remote region of Iran:
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.
There is little doubt that the Iranians will ignore Iraqi sovereignty in order to carry out missions against the separatists. They violate Iraqi territory with impunity.
In a related story, 50 Iranian Revolutionary Guards thought to belong to the Qods Force are being tracked in Iraq. It is believed they are training Shia militias on how best to attack the American military. If found, the members of the IRG will be "dealt with" according to a military spokesman.