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Middle east

Deadly attack on Iranian refugee camp near Baghdad

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-09

At least six people were killed and dozens were wounded at a camp that houses Iranian exiles opposed to the government in Tehran, but there were conflicting reports on the nature of the deadly assault.

Assailants fired rockets at a refugee camp for Iranian exiles outside Baghdad early Saturday, killing six people and wounding dozens, police and a spokesman for the camp said.

The camp, a former American military base known as Camp Liberty, houses members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, the militant wing of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran.

The camp is meant to be a temporary way station while the United Nations works to resettle the residents abroad. They are unlikely to return to Iran because of their opposition to the regime.

Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the NCRI, provided the names of the six killed and said more than 100 people were wounded, several of them seriously. He released photographs of five bloodied bodies swaddled in blankets, including one of a woman.

Two police officials confirmed the death toll and said more than 40 people were hurt in the attack. They said three policemen were among the wounded. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to share information with the media.

There were conflicting reports about what was fired at the camp. Iraqi police and Gobadi said assailants fired rockets, while U.N. officials said the camp was hit by mortar rounds.

Iraq’s government is eager to have the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, out of the country. The group, which is also called the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, opposes Iran’s clerical regime and carried out assassinations and bombings in Iran until renouncing violence in 2001.

It fought in the 1980s alongside Saddam Hussein’s forces in the Iran-Iraq war. Several thousand of its members were given sanctuary in Iraq by Saddam.

Iraq’s current Shiite-led government, which has close ties to Iran, considers the MEK a terrorist group and says its members are living in Iraq illegally.

The Obama administration took the MEK off the U.S. terrorism list in late September.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-02-09

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