ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Unidentified fighters on Sunday clashed with Iranian border guards in what is the second such incident this week, local media reported.
The armed exchange broke out in the Baneh County of Kurdistan Province, near the border with the Kurdistan Region, where Peshmerga fighters with Iranian Kurdish (Rojhilati) opposition groups are known to operate.
Tehran has in recent months increased security measures at the border and deployed reinforcement to counter the Rojhilati groups’ operations, as well as the movement of border couriers, called ‘Kulbar’ in Kurdish.
“Last night, [Iranian] officers, while guarding the border, clashed with armed border infiltrators near the Baneh border regiment,” Kiwmarth Sheikhi, Kurdistan Province Border Guards Commander, was quoted as saying by state-owned ISNA agency. The official said that one guard had been killed and claimed the fighters then fled across the border to the Kurdistan Region.
On Friday, another such incident took place near the city of Meriwan which is sixty kilometers south-southeast of Baneh. Although the number of border guards killed or injured was not immediately released, Hengaw reported that security forces had summoned four ambulances.
Local authorities then dispatched extra reinforcements to nearby areas and set up improvised security checkpoints to tighten security in the region. No casualties from the gunmen’s side were reported.
Kurdish groups are yet to confirm whether they were involved in the clashes.
Hengaw, a watchdog that reports on Rojhilati affairs with informed sources in the area, said the Friday incident involved “an unidentified Kurdish force,” while the Sunday clashes did not include mentions of a Kurdish force, suggesting a distinction between the two groups.
Editing by Nadia Riva