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Iran takes PJAK position near Iraqi border

July 18, 2011 at 10:27 AM

TEHRAN, July 18 (UPI) -- The Iranian military has occupied a camp near the Iraqi border used by Kurdish militants with the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, an Iranian commander said.

Iraqi media last week said Iranian forces penetrated about 1.5 miles across the border in pursuit of militants in the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK.

Col. Delavar Ranjbarzadeh, a commander with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said his forces killed a top PJAK member after taking control of a camp used by the group near the Iraqi border, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reports.

PJAK is said to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. More than a dozen Turkish soldiers were killed last week by PKK rebels in Diyarbakir province in Turkey near the shared border with Iran and Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during his recent visit to Iraq alleged Iranian forces were supporting Shiite rebels in the south of Iraq.

Iran says it has sent about 5,000 troops to the northwest border to help defend against Kurdish rebels.

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