Last updated: 22 July, 2011

Six Iran troops killed in clashes with Kurd rebels

A senior officer of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards was among six soldiers killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels on the border with Iraq, Fars news agency reported on Friday.

“General Assemi of the Qom branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was killed along with five of his comrades in clashes with terrorist rebels of the PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) in the Sardasht area,” the agency said, without giving any further details.

Iranian troops launched a major offensive on Saturday against PJAK rebels operating out of rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq.

On Tuesday, the autonomous regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan demanded Iran respect the border after a Guards commander said Iranian forces had taken “full control” of three PJAK camps inside Iraq.

In Tehran, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour demanded Baghdad and the Kurdish regional authorities prevent the rebels from attacking Iran from Iraqi territory.

The fighting had already left at least two Guards — a colonel and a captain — killed and three wounded, according to security officials in Tehran. PJAK has said two of its fighters were killed and four wounded.

Iranian forces have repeatedly shelled border districts of Iraq’s Kurdish region, targeting PJAK bases.