US condemns attack on Iranian exile camp in Iraq

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A rocket attack on a refugee camp housing an Iranian opposition group in Iraq Thursday prompted condemnation from Washington and a call for Baghdad to provide medical and emergency assistance to the victims.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in the attack on the camp to the west of Baghdad, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Twelve rockets hit the camp, near the international airport, killing several people, an unnamed security source was quoted as saying by iraqinews.com.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Camp Liberty, also known as Camp Hurriya, holds around 2,200 Iranians, according to the UN, mostly members of the exiled Mujahedeen-e Khalq, a former armed opposition group and now part of a coalition of exiled parties.

“We are consulting with the Government of Iraq to ascertain the full extent of this unprovoked attack,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said, without confirming the number of casualties.

Kerry also urged the government of Iraq to provide additional security for the camp and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“With growing Iranian involvement in Iraq, the security situation around Camp Liberty is increasingly risky,” said Ed Royce, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives.

“The Iraqi government made an international commitment to protect the camp’s residents,” he said. “The US and international community must demand accountability.”

The Mujedeheedn-e Khalq, also known as the People’s Mujadehin of Iran (PMOI), was engaged in armed resistance against Iran’s government until it renounced violence in 2001.

It was on several official lists of terrorist organizations until it was removed from the EU list in 2009, and the US one in 2012.

Based in Paris, it is now the main member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of opposition parties who refer to themselves as a parliament in exile.

The council said online that 23 PMOI members were killed in the rocket attack.

Kerry also encouraged more countries respond to “this urgent humanitarian situation by welcoming camp residents for relocation and by contributing to the fund established by the United Nations to support their resettlement.”

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