Iraqi government officials are denying that security forces killed
Iranian exiles when seizing control of their camp north of Baghdad.
But residents of Camp Ashraf, which is home to the exiled Iranian
opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq, say Iraqi police killed at least
seven people when they took control of the compound Tuesday.
Witnesses said at least 400 people were wounded in the raid, including
many who were beaten by security forces. Residents have released video
footage of the wounded and photos of people with visible gunshot
wounds, but the authenticity of the evidence has not been verified.
On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department called reports of casualties
"disturbing." A spokesman said Iraqi officials had given the United
States written assurances that any government actions in the camp would
be humane and that Iraq would not relocate individuals there to a
country where they would have "a well-founded fear of persecution."
After taking control of the facility from U.S. forces in January, Iraqi
officials said that they would eventually close Camp Ashraf. But it is
unclear if officials plan to deport the camp residents back to Iran.
The camp houses 3,500 members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, or People's
Mojahedin. Members of the group fought alongside Iraq during its war
with Iran and also are accused of helping former Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein repress his opponents inside Iraq.
Iraq, Iran and the U.S. consider the People's Mojahedin a terrorist
group. The European Union removed the group from its list of terrorist
organizations earlier this year.