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Ten killed in clashes at MKO Iraq base
Fri, 08 Apr 2011 16:36:17 GMT
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A file photo shows Iraqi riot police and security forces.
Ten people have been killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in the central province of Diyala.

The incident occurred on Friday when the armed forces clashed with stone-pelting crowds at Camp Ashraf where the members of the notorious group are based, AFP quoted an Iraqi security official as saying.

"The clashes started at around 4:40 a.m. (0140 GMT) as the army was taking positions inside a cemetery in Ashraf," said Major Hassan al-Tamimi of the Iraqi army in Diyala's provincial capital, Baqouba.

"The latest toll is three people killed and 27 wounded, among them 13 members of the security forces," Tamimi said.

A source at Baqouba's main hospital confirmed they had received three bodies.

The MKO, however, claimed 31 of its members had died and 300 were wounded in what it alleged was a full military assault.

AFP reported that ten people had been killed and over 40 injured.

Visiting a US military base in northern Iraq, Pentagon chief Robert Gates expressed concern at reports of casualties and urged Iraqi authorities to exercise restraint.

But the Iraqi government said it is fed up with the terrorist group which has been launching attacks against people and officials in neighboring Iran over the past three decades.

The terrorist group is also known to have collaborated with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the massacre of Iraqi Kurds in the north and the Shia community in the south.

Baghdad would no longer tolerate an organization that had been involved in "terrorist activity and harms relations with neighbors," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's media advisor Ali Musawi stated.

Musawi said Maliki has asked European Union ambassadors to "accept them (MKO) and put them wherever they like, because Iraq cannot bear this any longer. It harms our relations with our countries."

Blacklisted as a terrorist entity by Tehran, the MKO was removed from the EU blacklist in 2009 but remains on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

The MKO set up Camp Ashraf in the 1980s as a base to launch attacks against the Islamic Republic.

MRS/AS/HGH/MMN/HGL
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