UN chief slams deadly mortar attack on Iranian exile camp in Iraq

2013-02-09 16:37:45 GMT2013-02-10 00:37:45(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday strongly condemned a deadly mortar attack on a camp housing Iranian exiles in central Iraq, which reportedly left at least five people dead.

"The secretary-general strongly condemns the mortar attack today on Camp Liberty, the temporary transit facility near Baghdad for former residents of Camp Ashraf, which killed a number of residents and injured other residents and Iraqi police officers," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.

The Camp Liberty is a former U.S. military base near Baghdad used by members of the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran ( PMOI), an Iranian opposition. The camp came under missile and mortar attack at 05:45 local time (02:45 GMT) on Saturday, reports said.

About 3,000 members of the PMOI, also known as Mujahideen-e Khalq, were moved to Camp Liberty last year on the insistence of the Iraqi government, which wanted to close the group's long-time base, Camp Ashraf. It is meant to be a temporary home while the UN resettles them.

"The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, led by his special representative, Martin Kobler, is closely liaising with the government of Iraq on the response to the incident, including medical assistance to the wounded," the statement said.

"The secretary-general calls on the government of Iraq, which is responsible for the safety and security of residents of both Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, to promptly and fully investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice," the statement said.

Ban has repeatedly stated that violence and provocation are unacceptable, the statement said. "He reiterates the United Nations strong commitment to continue its long-standing efforts to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution for the residents of both Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf pursuant to its agreement with the government of Iraq of 25 December 2011."

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