Thursday, August 30, 2007


Iraqi govt demands Iran stops shelling northern Iraq

(Reuters) -- Iraq's government on Tuesday demanded Iran stop shelling Kurdish areas inside Iraq's northeastern border, warning that relations would be hurt, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said. Iraqi Kurdish officials have complained about cross-border shelling from neighbouring Iran since the middle of the month.
Cross-border skirmishes occasionally occur as Iraq's neighbours Turkey and Iran combat Kurdish separatist rebels operating from bases in Iraq's mountainous northern region of Kurdistan. Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Hamoud summoned the Iranian ambassador on Tuesday to protest about the shelling, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"The deputy foreign minister demanded the Iranian side immediately cease these attacks," the statement said.
"The affair would affect negatively the good neighbourly relationship between the two countries." The government in Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdistan region said on Tuesday that 450 families from 20 villages along the border had been evacuated because of shelling.
The Iraqi side of the border area is believed to be home to Kurdish PJAK militants seeking autonomy for Kurdish regions of Iran. There has been no official comment from Tehran about the shelling.

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