Reports from Iraq indicate that explosions have left scores of people dead in Camp Ashraf, where about 100 members of the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (People’s Mujahedin of Iran) still reside.
AFP reports that the group’s spokesman announced that on Sunday, “the camp was targeted by government forces’ rockets.” The Iraqi government strongly denies this report.
The exiled group’s website reports that Iraqi police forces later entered the camp and opened fire on residents.
The Iraqi government denies all of these allegations, and local hospitals say there have been no casualties from the explosions.
A spokesman for the Iraqi government told the Associated Press that a number of Camp Ashraf residents were killed but he claimed that an investigation had revealed that the victims were killed during internal disputes among residents of the camp.
AFP was told by officials in charge of the camp that no soldiers had entered the camp. The officials said it appeared that a number of oil and gas barrels had exploded and the police are investigating.
UN officials in Iraq have also announced that they are investigating the incident.
Mujahedin-e Khalq earlier had reported that the government has stopped providing power and water to the camp.
Mujahedin-e Khalq members have resided in Camp Ashraf since the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when the group collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s government against the Islamic Republic. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the camp fell under U.S. supervision and the members were disarmed.
The current Iraqi government has called for the removal of the group’s members from its territory, and the U.S. negotiated a deal to transfer the residents to Liberty Base near Baghdad until they can be given asylum in other countries.
About 3,000 of the residents were transferred to Liberty Base but about 100 of the Camp Ashraf residents remained in Camp Ashraf to reportedly take care of the residents’ possessions.