AFP: Iran's Revolutionary Guards have killed nine Kurdish rebels, five of them women, in clashes in West Azarbaijan province near the border with Turkey, reports said on Saturday.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's Revolutionary Guards have killed nine Kurdish rebels, five of them women, in clashes in West Azarbaijan province near the border with Turkey, reports said on Saturday.
"Revolutionary Guards clashed with a 10-member team and nine were killed," Jomhuri Eslami newspaper said, describing the rebels as "members of a military arm of the PJAK terrorist group."
The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) operates from rear-bases in northeastern Iraq and has been involved in a series of clashes with Iranian security forces in recent years.
The rebel group has close links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984.
Jomhuri Eslami said that seven of the nine rebels killed were Turkish nationals and just two Iranian.
"There were five women and four men among the nine dead bodies," it added.
The paper said the clashes took place in the village of Gonbad, near the city of Orumieh. It said the 10th member of the rebel cell escaped across the border to Turkey.
A report in the Kargozaran newspaper said the clashes took place on Wednesday night.
In recent years, Iran has seen an upsurge in unrest in several regions with ethnic minority populations, including Baluchestan in the southeast and Arab-populated Khuzestan in the southwest, as well as Kurdish-inhabited areas.
Iranian officials have accused Britain and the United States of being behind the increase in violence.