|IRGC praises Iraqi mujahedeen for dealing with MKO terrorists||
TEHRAN – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has praised the efforts of Iraqi “Mujahid brothers” for dealing with members of the terrorist group Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
According to reports at least 52 members of the MKO were killed at Ashraf Camp, northeast of Baghdad, on Sunday.
Clashes and explosions were reported in the camp, which prior to the clashes housed 100 members of the group, but Iraqi officials denied they had carried out a military offensive.
Two Iraqi security sources said that army and special forces had opened fire on MKO members who had stormed a post at the entrance to Camp Ashraf, a site that Iraq’s government wants closed down, Reuters reported.
An advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said reports that security forces had opened fire on the residents were baseless and said that Maliki had ordered an investigation into what had happened.
“We want to know the truth,” advisor Ali al-Moussawi said. He said it was unclear what had caused the blast in the morning. Residents could have been killed in the explosion or through infighting at the camp, he said.
In a statement, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed for the urgent restoration of security in the camp. Baghdad should “promptly investigate the incident and disclose the findings,” he said.
However, there are conflicting reports about the incident.
According to AFP, the Iraqi official responsible for the camp, Haqi al-Sharifi, said, “Not a single soldier entered Camp Ashraf.”
“There was no attack from outside against the camp, but what seems to have happened is some barrels of oil and gas inside Ashraf exploded. The police are investigating.”
A police source told AFP, however, that five mortars landed in Ashraf on Sunday morning.
The MKO, meanwhile, said that the Iraqi army had entered Ashraf and killed a number of its members and set fire to the group’s property in the camp.
The group had previously reported that Iraqi authorities cut off electricity and water supplies to Camp Ashraf about two weeks ago.
The MKO, taken off the U.S. list of terrorist organizations last year, fought alongside the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against Iran in the 1980s.
The group is no longer welcome in Iraq after U.S.-led forces invaded and toppled Saddam in 2003.
The MKO insists that the United States, whose forces initially helped them settle in Ashraf after the 2003 invasion, still bears responsibility for their safety.
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