Iran MP confirms PKK number two arrest
The second top member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Murat Karayilan (file photo)
A senior Iranian lawmaker has confirmed the arrest of the second top member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by Iran's intelligence forces.
"Following the explosion of the Iran-Turkey gas pipeline and with measures taken by Iran's intelligence forces, the PKK terrorist group's number two [leader] was arrested," Chairman of Iran's Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi confirmed on Sunday, IRNA reported.
Turkish media sources broke the news on Saturday that Iranian security forces had captured Murat Karayilan, PKK's number-two man and the current leader of the terrorist organization.
The supply of natural gas from Iran to Turkey was temporarily disrupted after an explosion damaged a section of the gas pipeline between the two countries on Friday. While no one claimed responsibility for the blast, it bore the hallmark of PKK terrorists.
Boroujerdi also said the activities of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) terrorist group -- an offshoot of the PKK -- on the western borders of Iran are a reaction to the powerful and effective measures adopted by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
"Of course the public expected nothing less of the IRGC," he added.
The lawmaker described Karayilan's arrest as an "important feat," adding that the “response of this terrorist group is defensive and will have no effect on our situation."
Karayilan, who had last been seen in northern Iraq, became the commander of the PKK after its former leader and founder Abdullah Ocalan was arrested by Turkish intelligence forces in Kenya in 1999.
PKK is a separatist organization that launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government in the 1980s for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey's southeast.
Listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and most of the international community, PKK is held responsible by Turkey for the loss of nearly 45,000 lives over the past two decades.
The PKK offshoot, PJAK, regularly engages in armed clashes with Iranian security forces along the country's western borders with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The Kurd militants launch their attacks from Iraq's Qandil Mountains in the areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Tel Aviv and Israeli firms reportedly operate in these mountains as well.
This is while Iranian military officials have not yet confirmed the report.