The Iranian Revolutionary Guard crossed the border into Iraq on Saturday. Forces from Iran attacked a group of Kurds that it says were responsible for a bombing during a military parade in Iran last week. According to Iran state TV, 30 “terrorists” were killed in the raid. A general in the Revolutionary Guards, Abdolrasoul Mahmoudabadi, said they were still in pursuit of two men that escaped.
Iran has blamed Kurdish separatists for last week’s bombing, which killed 12. However, no group has claimed responsibility, and most Kurdish opposition groups condemned the bombing.
Iraq has complained of Iran firing artillery across the border, targeting the Kurds, in the past. Iran has said that it would attack armed Kurdish groups on Iraqi soil, but this is one of the first times they have admitted to doing so.
Iran has also blamed the U.S., Israel, and supporters of Saddam Huessin, for the blast. Reuter’s quoted Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying:
“Investigations showed that intelligence services of America and the Zionist regime (Israel) as well as members of the Iraqi Baath party were behind the blast. Bandits backed by Mossad and the CIA … carried out the blast.”
The crossing highlights rising tensions on the Iran – Iraq border. There have been several incursions of Iran’s forces into Iraq within the past year. The first one was in December, 2009, when troops from Iran took over an Iraqi oil well near the border. They withdrew a few days later. In May, Iranian artillery killed a 14 year old girl in a Kurdish village on the Iraqi side of the border.
New fortifications are being built on both sides of the border. Gen. Babaker Shawkat Zebari, commander of the Iraq army, says that Iraq will not be ready to fully protect its borders until 2020, and has called for the U.S. to remain in Iraq past its planned 2011 complete withdrawal date.