Once again, an Iranian refugee camp in eastern Iraq was the scene of a deadly raid. According to one source approximately 31 Iranians were killed and over 300 more were wounded during the operation. About 13 Iraqi personnel were also injured in the raid. Elsewhere in Iraq, attacks continued as well, leaving eight dead and eight wounded.
Clashes in Camp Ashraf killed at least three people and wounded 27 others; however, a camp official reported 31 killed and 300 wounded. At least 13 Iraqis soldiers were wounded. Due to the nature of the situation, independent reports and accurate figures are impossible to obtain. Iraqi authorities claimed they were trying to set up a checkpoint within the camp when residents set themselves on fire and later threw rocks at security forces. However, other reports suggest that the raid was planned for days.
An Iraqi general admitted that land in one corner of the camp was confiscated in order to redistribute it to Iraqi farmers who may have owned the property before the camp was built. Camp Ashraf is home to several thousand Iranian exiles who were members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran. They were invited to live in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, but after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq the group became a political hot potato.
The current government would like to see the refugees leave the country and has harassed them repeatedly, but there is no third country to welcome them. Fortunately for them, Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention protects them from repatriation to Iran where they will likely be tortured or killed.
Although the U.S. government expressed great concern for the group — who had been under their care after the invasion — its failure to prevent the deadly operation may have been in violation of international law. Oddly, this is the second large operation to coincide with a visit to Iraq by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The first occurred in 2009 and left hundreds of casualties as well.
In Baghdad, gunmen killed two important officials in Ouwairej; one was a television network official and the other the head of the department of political prisoners. A bomb killed two people and wounded four others. An I.E.D. in Ur wounded a man. A senior police officer was wounded in a blast in Mansour.
Riots occurred in Nasariya after police found the body of a child in the river. It is unclear how the child died, but police killed another child and wounded two civilians when they shot into the air to disperse the crowd.
Gunmen in Kirkuk killed a tribal leader.
A woman was shot to death in Numaniya.
A U.S. convoy was the target of a blast near Hilla.
Two suspects were arrested in Iskandariya.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Turkish Airstrikes Leave Kurdish Fatalities; 14 Killed in Iraq – March 22nd, 2018
- India Abductees Found Dead Near Mosul; 72 Killed in Iraq – March 20th, 2018
- ISIS Attacks on Kirkuk Province Highways; Four Killed in Iraq – March 19th, 2018
- Bodies Pollute River in Mosul; 12 Killed in Iraq – March 18th, 2018
- Seven U.S. Airmen Among 131 Killed in Iraq – March 16th, 2018