After Iraq moved to transfer the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) from their camp in the country, members of the group defied the Iraqi government’s orders to leave.
Iraqi police were out in force in Camp Ashraf near the border on Tuesday, calling on its nearly 3,500 residents to leave as a first stage towards leaving Iraq.
According to a plan ordered by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki the group should first be moved to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and later to a 1950s detention camp in southern Iraq.
A representative from the terrorist organization, Mehdi Farahi, warned Iraqi officials against any attempt to expel the group.
“Any attempt to expel us forcibly will lead to the same clashes and confrontations as those of July 28 and 29,” he said, referring to a July incident during which Iraqi forces raided the camp in a melee leaving 11 people dead.
Meanwhile, Iraqi army Colonel Bassel Hamad told reporters that “Camp residents have been aware since October 19 that they are to be cleared out today and moved elsewhere while respecting international human rights standards.”
“If they refuse, a high committee will decide what measures to take and we will resolve the problem in a peaceful manner,” he added.
The MKO has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by many international organizations and countries including the United States.
The terrorist group targeted Iranian government officials and civilians in Iran and abroad in the early 1980s. The group also attempted an unsuccessful invasion of Iran in the last days of the Iraq-Iran war in 1988.
The MKO was also involved in the massacre of Iraqis under the Ba’athist regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.