Accessibility links

Iraq Denies Casualties in Iranian Opposition Camp Clashes


Iraqi government officials are denying that security forces killed Iranian exiles when seizing control of their camp north of Baghdad.

But residents of Camp Ashraf, which is home to the exiled Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq, say Iraqi police killed at least seven people when they took control of the compound Tuesday.

Witnesses said at least 400 people were wounded in the raid, including many who were beaten by security forces. Residents have released video footage of the wounded and photos of people with visible gunshot wounds, but the authenticity of the evidence has not been verified.

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department called reports of casualties "disturbing." A spokesman said Iraqi officials had given the United States written assurances that any government actions in the camp would be humane and that Iraq would not relocate individuals there to a country where they would have "a well-founded fear of persecution."

After taking control of the facility from U.S. forces in January, Iraqi officials said that they would eventually close Camp Ashraf. But it is unclear if officials plan to deport the camp residents back to Iran.

The camp houses 3,500 members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, or People's Mojahedin. Members of the group fought alongside Iraq during its war with Iran and also are accused of helping former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein repress his opponents inside Iraq.

Iraq, Iran and the U.S. consider the People's Mojahedin a terrorist group. The European Union removed the group from its list of terrorist organizations earlier this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG