Iraq Seeks Diplomacy to Stop Iran Shelling

The Iraqi government is using diplomacy to try to stop Iranian forces from shelling Kurdish rebel positions in the north and does not expect an incursion by ground forces, the foreign minister said Wednesday.

Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, made the comment in parliament after some Kurdish legislators demanded a strong statement against Iranian attacks against border camps operated by Iranian Kurdish rebels linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

"The Iraqi government is making necessary contacts with the countries concerned and with international sides," Zebari said. "There were some violations, but we do not think that there is a present threat or possibility of major incursion."

He said there were some "sticky issues and problems," but the border attacks "should be handled through diplomatic means."

Iranian forces fired artillery across the border north of Sulaimaniyah on Sunday and Monday, causing no casualties but forcing some families to move, according to Iraqi Kurdish officials. The Iranians launched a similar barrage April 21.

Rebels seeking self-rule in Kurdish areas of Iran operate from Iraqi territory and have been active recently, mounting attacks against Iranian army and Revolutionary Guard posts.

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