Iranian artillery March 23 shelled three border towns in northern Iraq where Iranian Kurdish militants are believed to be operating, Iraqi Kurdish authorities reported. The shelling of the towns of Marado, Razda and Dolakoka started at 7:00 AM and lasted for about two hours, said Azad Watho, a top administrative official in Sulaimaniyah, one of three provinces that make up Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. Watho said the shelling targeted fighters from the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK).
Tehran had no immediate comment on the report and officials could not be reached because of the official Nowruz holiday. There were similar reports of Iran shelling Iraqi territory several times last year. Tehran has repeatedly charged that PEJAK regularly launches attacks in Iran from bases in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains. Last August, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari strongly criticized Iranian artillery raids. (Hurriyet, Turkey, March 23 from AP)