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Iran Guards kill Kurdish rebels


AFP: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards continued their offensives against rebels from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) on Wednesday, killing and wounding a number of them, media reported.

TEHRAN, July 20, 2011 (AFP) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards continued their offensives against rebels from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) on Wednesday, killing and wounding a number of them, media reported.

“The Guards on Wednesday killed and wounded a number of the PJAK members in a new phase of operations,” Guards commander in northwestern Iran Brigadier General Mohammad Taqi Osanlou was quoted on the state television website as saying.

He added that the operation against PJAK was carried out in Alvatan, Dasht-e Vazne, Jasusan and the Gavizeh Heights, all of which are inside Iran, and did not mention any cross-border operation.

Osanlou’s comments come a day after authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan told Iran that it must respect the border with Iraq.

“We demand Iran respect the sovereignty of the Kurdistan region as part of the sovereignty of Iraq,” regional government spokesman Qawa Mahmud told AFP.

Osanlou said “our operation is within the framework of pursuing and eliminating anti-revolutionary forces especially PJAK terrorist group, and will continue with full power along the Islamic republic’s border with Iraqi Kurdistan.”

The rhetoric on all sides has heated up in recent days, barely a week after Iranian officials stated that they reserved the right to attack PJAK bases in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

In Tehran, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour demanded on Tuesday that the Baghdad government and Kurdish authorities in Iraq prevent Kurdish rebels from attacking Iran from Iraqi territory.

On Monday a commander in the Guards commander said Iran has taken “full control” of three PJAK camps inside Iraq.

The fighting, which began on Saturday, left at least two Revolutionary Guards — a colonel and a captain — killed and three wounded, according to security officials in Tehran. PJAK, meanwhile, says two of its fighters were killed and four wounded.

Saeed Khan, from PJAK’s political office, said the rebel movement would not back down in the aftermath of the clashes, telling AFP in Iraq: “Iran must know that it cannot defeat PJAK — this is the truth.”

Iranian forces regularly shell border districts of Iraq’s Kurdish region, targeting PJAK bases.

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