Mortars hit MKO's Ashraf Camp in Iraq
Two mortars have struck the Ashraf Camp, the base of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq's Diyala province near the Iranian border, Press TV quoted the Iraqi military as reporting.
"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 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 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.
MKO started assassination of the citizens and officials after the Islamic revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border. Over 3,000 MKO members are currently residing at the camp.
The U.S. designated the MKO a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997; the group is still on the list. Britain and the European Union took the group off their terrorist lists in 2008 and 2009 respectively after court rulings that found no evidence of terrorist actions after the MKO renounced violence in 2001.