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IRAQ WARS
Death toll in Iran exile camp attack rises to seven: MEK
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Feb 12, 2013


US rejects moving Iranian exiles back to old camp
Washington (AFP) Feb 12, 2013 - The United States rejected calls Tuesday for Iranian exiles housed in a camp near Baghdad that came under mortar and rocket attack to be sent back to live in their former base.

The death toll from Saturday's assault on Camp Liberty, which houses about 3,000 members of the opposition People's Mujahedeen of Iran, meanwhile rose to seven, the group said.

Iraqi authorities are now investigating who was behind the attack, but the MEK and its supporters have called for the group to be allowed to return to their old base dating back to the 1980s -- Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border.

"The answer for the individuals at (Camp Liberty) is not to relocate back to Ashraf, in our view," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"The only peaceful and durable solution for these individuals is resettlement outside Iraq, and that should continue to be the focus of everybody involved in this effort."

The residents were reluctantly and finally moved from Camp Ashraf last year, on Iraq's insistence, as part of deal negotiated via the United Nations.

They are now in the process of being resettled, and it is understood the United States and several European countries had agreed to take them in.

Nuland said the United States has still not made any decisions on whether to accept any of the residents.

"We are now in the process of evaluating some of the referrals that UNHCR has sent our way, and we're strongly, as I said, encouraging others to do the same," Nuland said.

The death toll from a weekend mortar and rocket attack on an Iranian exiles' camp in Iraq rose Tuesday to seven, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, or the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) said.

The MEK, whose leadership is based in Paris, said in a statement that a 57-year-old had died from wounds received in Saturday's attack on Camp Liberty, a former US military base near Baghdad housing about 3,000 members of the MEK.

The MEK, which gave an initial toll of six dead and around 100 wounded, said several more of its members remained in a serious condition.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack but MEK leader Maryam Radjavi on Monday denounced what she called the "crimes of the Iranian state".

She noted that the camp was inside a giant military zone and that the perpetrators could only have got inside with help from "within the Iraqi government".

The MEK was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran, and after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted him it took up arms against Iran's clerical rulers.

It says it has now laid down its arms and is working to overthrow the Islamic regime in Tehran by peaceful means.

Britain struck the group off its terror list in June 2008, followed by the European Union in 2009 and the United States in September 2012.

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