Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Middle east

Iranian helicopters 'attack' Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq

Latest update : 2009-05-03

Iraqi border guards say Iranian helicopters attacked three villages in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in a cross-border raid. Iranian Kurdish separatist group The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) appears to have been the target.

AFP - Iranian helicopters attacked three Iraqi Kurdish villages in a cross-border raid on Saturday, a border guard official said, the first time Iran has used aircraft against Kurdish rebels.
  
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
  
"At 4 am (0100 GMT) they attacked with artillery the villages of Kani Saif, Jomarasi and Kara Sozi, that belong to the Panjwin district," a senior Iraqi border guard official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
  
"After the (initial) attacks, at 9 am three Iranian helicopters attacked these areas again," he said. "This is the first time they have used helicopters."
  
The official said the area was not considered a stronghold of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian Kurdish separatist group that appeared to have been the target of the raid.
  
He said the fighters tend to operate near the village Qalat Dizah further north and that the Panjwin area has only been shelled twice in the past year, much less than areas closer to Iraqi Kurdistan's borders.
  
The raids came a week after 26 people were killed in a fierce gunbattle between Iranian police and Kurdish rebels near the Iraqi border, but it was not immediately clear if the events were linked.
  
Eighteen of those killed in the April 24 clash were Iranian policemen and eight were PJAK fighters, Iranian provincial justice chief Allahyar Malekshahi said on Saturday.
  
"Five people suspected of participating in this terrorist attack have been arrested and are under investigation," he said.
  
Western Iran, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, has seen deadly fighting in recent years between Iranian security forces and PJAK rebels operating out of rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq.
  
The group is closely allied with the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
  
Blacklisted as a terror group by the European Union and the United States, the PKK took up arms for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast in 1984, triggering a conflict that has claimed some 44,000 lives.
  
PKK rear-bases in border districts of northern Iraq were the target of repeated attack by the Turkish and Iranian militaries in December and January and more recently in March and April.
  
Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities.
  
Under executed president Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led regime, Tehran and Baghdad fought a devastating 1980-1988 war in which around one million people died.
  
Relations between Baghdad and Teheran have warmed considerably since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam by US-led forces, although many of Iraq's Sunni Arabs continue to eye Iran with suspicion.

Date created : 2009-05-03

COMMENT(S)