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Iraq Kurd leader warns Iran over shelling
by Staff Writers
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) July 3, 2011

The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region has warned that ties with Tehran could suffer if Iran continues cross-border shelling against opponents, in a statement Sunday.

"We condemn the artillery fire against Iranian citizens in the border region of Kurdistan," Massud Barzani said, in the statement posted on his office website.

"This action is unjustified and may affect relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the autonomous region of Kurdistan," he warned.

Iran's forces regularly shell the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan, home to members of the separatist Iranian-Kurdish rebel group PJAK, or the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan.

On Thursday Iranian forces shelled Haj Omran, a border crossing 70 kilometres (43 miles) northeast of the Kurdistan capital of Arbil.

"Instead of instilling fear, they (the Iranians) would do better to try to resolve the issue through dialogue and find workable solutions," said Barzani.

He said "the recent shelling of the border with Kurdistan caused damage to villages and farms in the region and forced the villagers to flee."

earlier related report
Iraq attacks kill four civilians, eight police
Ramadi, Iraq (AFP) July 3, 2011 - Eight policemen and four civilians were killed in a drive-by shooting and other attacks in Iraq on Sunday, police and interior ministry officials said.

"At 8:30 am (0530 GMT), gunmen riding in a car and carrying automatic weapons killed five policemen guarding a checkpoint, before fleeing," said a police officer in the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

He said the gunmen struck in the desert town of Rutbah, on the main highway leading from Baghdad towards Amman and Damascus.

Anbar province was an Al-Qaeda stronghold until 2008 when US commanders began recruiting Sunni Arab tribesmen and former insurgents to form militias which turned the tide against the jihadists.

Two policemen and a civilian were killed by gunmen using silenced guns in Baghdad, while in the capital's centre a magnetic "sticky bomb" that attaches to vehicles killed two civilians, an interior ministry official said.

Meanwhile, in the main northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed one policeman and wounded a second, police said. And in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, a roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded another, police said.

Last month was the deadliest this year in terms of the number of Iraqis killed in attacks, according to government figures. It was the deadliest since June 2008 for US troops, who are due to withdraw by the end of this year.

A total of 271 Iraqis and 14 US soldiers lost their lives in June.

Iraq has blamed Al-Qaeda for the increased death toll, which was up 34 percent on May. But the US military holds Iranian-backed Shiite militias responsible for the deadly attacks on its troops.

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Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century

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Gunmen kill 5 policemen in western Iraq
Ramadi, Iraq (AFP) July 3, 2011
Gunmen killed five Iraqi policemen in a drive-by shooting at a checkpoint in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, on Sunday, a police officer said. "At 8:30 am (0530 GMT), gunmen riding in a car and carrying automatic weapons killed five policemen guarding a checkpoint, before fleeing," the officer in the provincial capital Ramadi said. He said the gunmen struck in the desert town of Rutbah, ... read more

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