SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) -Iranian forces shelled Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq for the second day, forcing dozens of Kurdish families to flee.
“The Iranians shelled PKK positions from 9 pm on Sunday until 5 am on Monday,” Rustom Judi, a leader of the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq’s northern province of Sulaimaniyah, told AFP.
“Dozens of families were forced to leave their homes,” he said Monday.
“We have casualties,” he added, but did not provide further details.
Iranian troops targeted positions around the villages of Laradu, Rushga and Qalaa Tuka about 190 kilometers (118 miles) north of Sulaimaniyah in the region’s rugged mountains, Judi said.
On Sunday, Iraq’s defence ministry said Iranian forces had entered Iraqi territory and shelled PKK positions over a period of 24 hours.
Iran on Monday refused to confirm or deny its troops had crossed into Iraqi soil.
“I do not confirm the entry of our forces into the territory of neighbouring countries, notably Iraq,” government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.
“We have security cooperation accords with neighbouring countries and we act within the framework of these accords. There is no cause for concern over this kind of thing with neighbouring countries,” he said.
On April 20, Iranian shelling killed at least two people and injured 10 others in Iraq, the PKK said, while a group linked to the rebels, Pejak, killed four fighters inside Iran in weekend violence.
Iran is bound by treaty with Turkey to fight the outlawed PKK, which has waged a 15-year insurgency against Ankara for self rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.
In return, Turkey has pledged to fight the Iranian armed opposition group, the Iraq-based People’s Mujahedeen.