Last updated: 29 September, 2011

Iran offensive kills 180 Kurdish rebels

A deputy chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday the force had killed more than 180 Kurdish rebels in a summer offensive along the northwestern border with Iraq, Fars news agency reported.

“Our forces have killed over 180 members of this terrorist group and wounded 300 more,” it quoted Brigadier General Abdullah Araqi, deputy commander of the Guards ground forces, as saying.

Araqi said a number of Iranian fighters had also been “martyred” during operations to reclaim the area, but did not elaborate.

Tehran launched a chain of operations against the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in July and began shelling districts near the border with Iraq, killing dozens including the rebels’ deputy commander.

On September 21, the Guards said they had forced the armed rebels out of northwestern Iran.

Araqi said the rebels “accepted all of the Islamic republic’s conditions… we told them to retreat one kilometre (less than a mile) away from the Iranian border and to cease carrying out armed actions on Iranian territory.”

Iran accuses Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region of providing the PJAK with a vast safe haven along the border.

The PJAK, labelled as terrorists by Tehran, has often clashed with Iranian forces, sparking retaliatory bombing of their rear bases in the mountainous border districts of Iraqi Kurdistan.