PJAK fighters training at a base in the Qandil mountains. Photo: AP/file
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—An armed Kurdish group in Iran claimed it has killed at least 32 Iranian security forces and affiliated “mercenaries” this week in retaliation for the killing of 12 of its fighters last week.
The Eastern Kurdistan Defense Units (YRK), the armed wing of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), killed at least six “mercenaries” in Ruwari village in the mountainous region of Harwaman, west of Iran on Wednesday evening, the group claimed in a statement on its website, adding that several others were injured in that attack.
The group reported one of its fighters was killed in the clash.
The Kurdish digital news outlet NNS ROJ reported on clashes taking place in the same area mentioned by the YRK but listed different casualty figures. According to unconfirmed reports they received, three members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed and another seven of its local forces were injured.
NNS ROJ also named three critically injured IRGC members who were transferred to a hospital in Sanandaj for treatment.
The YRK and its women’s counterpart HPJ claimed it killed 9 members of the Basij forces, a paramilitary under the command of IRGC, on Sunday and critically injured another seven in a midnight attack on a military outpost in the Rabat area of Sardasht town, West Azerbaijan province.
Again in Sardasht, in the Jandaran area, the YRK claimed it killed two IRGC members in an ambush attack on Monday and destroyed a military vehicle which came to the rescue of the Iranian forces.
At midnight on Monday, the YRK killed 15 IRGC forces, they claimed, and injured tens in an attack on the Glochayar military outpost in Mariwan, Kurdistan province. The YRK said they used heavy weaponry in this attack and burned down the outpost.
The YRK claimed the fire burned for days and promised to publish footage of the attack in the future.
The IRGC commander in Kurdistan province confirmed the outpost had been attacked but said the attackers had failed in their mission.
Mohammed Hossein Rajabi told Iranian media that the group used light and semi-heavy weaponry in the attack, including a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) that he said did not explode.
He did not mention any casualties and said YRK members had fled the area.
The other attacks have not been confirmed by the IRGC, nor have they been reported on in the Iranian press.
The YRK said in two statements released on Wednesday and Thursday that these attacks were made in “retaliation” for the deaths of 12 of its fighters killed on October 4.
“In addition to warning the local forces and the Islamic Republic of Iran, we state that with the continuation of these actions, our retaliation will be even stronger,” one statement said on Thursday.
PJAK said the Iranian forces may have used “chemical weapons” in an October 4 attack that killed 12 of its fighters. PJAK said it had obtained information that suggested its fighters had been “poisoned” prior to the attack.
It said the incident proves yet again that Iran has breached the terms of the ceasefire between both sides.
A ceasefire has been in effect since 2011. PJAK claimed it has respected the truce.
The YRK has published the names and photographs of all 12 fighters, men ranging in age from 19 to 34, who were killed on October 4.
PJAK’s leadership council, in a statement responding to the October 4 attack, called for limited “revenge attacks” within the scope of “defence and self-defence,” falling short of renewing an armed campaign against Iran.