AFP: Iranian forces have shelled deeper into northern Iraq than previously, hitting targets in an area northeast of the city of Arbil, a local official said Thursday. ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) Iranian forces have shelled deeper into northern Iraq than previously, hitting targets in an area northeast of the city of Arbil, a local official said Thursday.
“The Iranian forces began their bombardments again on Wednesday evening targeting far away from the border,” said Abdul Wahid Koani, mayor of the Kurdish Iraqi border town of Joman.
“This time the Iranian bombardment was different as it targeted a town deep inside Iraqi territory,” Koani told AFP.
Iranian artillery shells landed in the Haj Umran area, hitting targets on two mountains and villages abandoned from earlier attacks, he said, adding that they reached as far as 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) into Iraqi territory.
Iran confirmed for the first time on Sunday that it had been shelling camps of Kurdish militants inside northern Iraq, saying the local authorities had not listened to its warnings.
The militant Kurdish separatist group PJAK — linked to Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — has been behind a string of deadly attacks on security forces in northwestern Iran in recent months.
Iraqi Kurdish officials said last month that hundreds of Iraqi Kurds had fled remote mountain villages near the country’s eastern frontier after Iranian gunners targeted separatist guerrilla bases.