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10 Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed at Iraqi border post

An Iranian official says its security forces were in pursuit of suspected Kurdish fighters
There is little coordination between Iranian and Iraqi forces over security of the porous border (Reuters)

Ten Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been killed by suspected Kurdish fighters in an attack on a post located on the Iraqi border, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency has reported.

The agency quoted a Revolutionary Guards' statement as saying that several of the attacking "terrorists" were also killed in the fighting in which a munitions depot was blown up, the latest deadly clash in an area where Kurdish armed opposition groups are active.

The attack happened on Friday night in the village of Dari, in the Marivan district of the northwestern Kurdish region of Iran.

"The attack by the evil rebels and terrorists against a revolutionary border post and the explosion of a munitions depot caused the martyrdom of 10 fighters," the Guards' ground forces division said in the statement.

There was some confusion over the announcement, as the statement listed 11 names of "martyred" soldiers.

Provincial security official Hosein Khosheqbal told state television that 11 members of the Guards' voluntary Basij forces were killed in the overnight violence, which he blamed on the Kurdish armed opposition group the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK).

"The latest news is that the Basij and Guards forces are in hot pursuit of the attackers," Khosheqbal said.

PJAK, an outlawed group that seeks self-governance for Iran's Kurds and has links to Turkey's Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), operates in the border area, along with other armed Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq.

Earlier this month, the Revolutionary Guards said they had killed three fighters in a security operation near the border with Iraq, and nine fighters were reported killed by the Guards last month further north on the border.

There is little coordination between Iranian and Iraqi forces over security of the porous border that has also been used by Islamic State (IS) to enter Iran.

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Tuesday that security forces in southwest Iran had arrested four suspected Islamic State operatives who were planning attacks.

In June 2017, IS carried out coordinated attacks at the parliament building in Tehran and the mausoleum of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini south of the capital, killing at least 18 people.