Rockets struck near Baghdad airport on Thursday in what an exiled Iranian opposition group said was an attack on their camp that left three dead and about 50 wounded.
Nasser Bandar, the head of Iraq’s civil aviation authority, said three rockets hit near a military site in the airport area, but that information on any casualties was not immediately available.
He said flights were not interrupted by the attack, “which was outside the limits of the civil airport.”
Members of an Iranian opposition group who are based near the airport while waiting to be transferred out of Iraq said that they were the target.
Iran’s exiled opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said in a statement on its Web site that “dozens of missiles” were fired on Camp Liberty.
“As of midnight local time, three residents, killed when dozens of missiles hit Camp Liberty, have been identified,” the statement said.
The US condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” US Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, adding that Washington had been coordinating with the UN and Iraqi officials “to ensure swift and immediate treatment to the wounded.”
Washington called on the Iraqi government “to take additional measures to secure the camp against further violence, including by immediately installing additional protective barriers, such as bunkers and T-walls,” Psaki said.
The former US military base is home to about 3,000 members of Iran’s main opposition group, the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran.
The organization was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran and later the country’s clerical rulers.
The group set up camp in Iraq during former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s war with Iran in the 1980s, but was disarmed after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 toppled Hussein, and today’s Shiite-majority and Iran-friendly government in Baghdad is eager to see it move elsewhere.
In September, 52 of its members were killed at their main former Camp Ashraf in Diyala Province.
Authorities blamed infighting within the organization for the deaths while the opposition group claimed Iraqi forces entered the camp, killed 52 of its members and set fire to the group’s property and goods.
UN rights experts said earlier this month those killed had been shot, many of them with their hands tied behind their backs.
Most of the camp’s residents had already been relocated to Camp Liberty at the time of the attack.
Scores of the organization’s members have been killed in more than a dozen attacks on their camps since US troops withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011.
Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread