Monday Dec 26, 201104:58 AM GMT
Mortars hit MKO's Ashraf Camp in Iraq
Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:57AM
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The entrance to the Ashraf Camp, where more than 3,000 members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) reside, in Iraq's Diyala province, near the border with Iran (file photo)
Two mortars have struck the Ashraf Camp, the base of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq's Diyala province near the Iranian border, according to the Iraqi military.

"Two mortars landed on Ashraf Camp and we cannot identify the number of casualties because we are not allowed to enter the camp," said an Iraqi military official Sunday on the condition of anonymity.

A statement issued by MKO representatives in the camp confirmed the incident but did not mention any possible casualties.

No party has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The mortar strike comes just days after the Iraqi government agreed to a UN plea to extend by six months a year-end deadline to shut down the headquarters of the anti-Iran terrorist group on its soil.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced at a news conference last Wednesday that the move follows a request by the UN to postpone the closure of the camp located northeast of the capital, Baghdad.

Also on Saturday, an Iraqi security official revealed that ten members of the terrorist group had escaped from the camp due to harsh conditions of suppression within the camp by MKO authorities and pleaded with Iraqi officials to help them leave the country.

The Ashraf Camp, about 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) west of the Iranian border, houses more the 3,000 MKO members.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986 where it enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein and set up the Ashraf Camp near the Iranian border.

The group is known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and is responsible for numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and officials back in the 1980s as well as anti-Saddam Iraqi civilians mostly in the 1990s.

Iraq considers the MKO base and its residents a threat to its national security but, has been pressured due to US-led efforts to extend the existence of the camp on its soil.

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