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Iran stops 'terrorist infiltration' from Turkey: State media

AFP , Friday 22 Jul 2016
Erdogan & Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on March 19, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
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Iranian forces have foiled a "terrorist" bid to infiltrate the country from Turkey, the official IRNA news agency said Friday, in the latest report of tension at its borders.

The elite Revolutionary Guards (IRCG) intercepted on Thursday morning "a terrorist group trying to infiltrate the country using Iran's border with Turkey," IRNA reported quoting a regional commander.

One suspect was killed and one arrested while the other two fled back towards Turkey, said Alireza Madani, a commander in the West Azerbaijan province that borders Turkey.

They were intercepted near the city of Salmas and two military rifles were seized, he said.

"Based on the intelligence acquired by the IRGC, the four terrorists were counter-revolutionary elements who lived in Turkey. They wanted to launch terrorist activities in Iran but their plans were aborted," Madani said.

He gave no further details about the incident, which comes after Turkey declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of a failed coup.

West Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran lies across the border from Turkey's mainly Kurdish province of Van, often the scene of clashes between Turkish forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The group, which has been demanding greater rights and self-rule, has staged near-daily attacks against the Turkish security forces since a two-and-a-half-year truce collapsed last July.

Iran forces have also clashed frequently with fighters from the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian group with close links to the PKK.

Earlier this month an Iranian lawmaker and a local official were wounded and their driver killed in an assassination attempt in the western Kermanshah Kurdish-speaking province blamed on the PJAK.

Since mid-June, Iranian forces have frequently clashed with militants on the country's predominantly Kurdish western borders, leaving at least 33 rebels and six soldiers dead.

Iran's southeastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been rocked by clashes in recent weeks between Iranian forces and Sunni militants.

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