Sunday, September 04, 2005

Clashes With Kurdish Terrorists Kill 120 Iranian Police in Five Months

Clashes in western Iran with Kurdish terrorists have left 120 Iranian police dead and a further 64 injured in less than six months, a provincial judiciary chief was quoted as saying Saturday. READ MORE

"Since the beginning of the year 1384 (beginning March 20, 2005), 120 police have been martyred and 64 injured fighting the Pejak, PKK, Kurdish Democratic Party and Komoleh," Hojatoleslam Akbar Feyz, the head of Western Azebaijan province judiciary, told the student news agency ISNA.

In recent months Iranian news reports have spoken of regular attacks by Iranian Kurdish terrorist groups, notably the Pejak -- a group which Iranian authorities say is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other outlawed Kurdish parties that are active across the border in Turkey and northern Iraq.

Tehran and Ankara are linked by an accord calling on Iran to fight the PKK and for Turkey to fight the People's Mujahedeen, an armed Iranian opposition group based in Iraq.

The latest death toll from the violence is far higher than previous reports, which suggested around a dozen police have died in clashes with rebels over recent months.

Feyz told ISNA that over the past month, 190 people from the province's various Kurdish dominated towns and cities were arrested, out of which just nine are still behind bars.

Provincial judges have also been armed "to protect themselves from death threats" issued by Kurdish terrorist groups, he added.

Several major clashes were reported in July around Iran's northwestern city of Mahabad, an historic centre of Kurdish nationalism.

Still a Kurdish-majority town, Mahabad is situated just south of Lake Urumiyeh, near Iran's border with Turkey and around 55 kilometres (35 miles) from the frontier with the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.