After April massacre, US seeks to relocate Iranian militants in Iraq

Five weeks after the Iraqi army mounted a lethal assault on Iranian dissidents who’ve been stranded in a sealed-off camp north of Baghdad since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. government has offered to help relocate the 3,400 residents elsewhere in the country to avert a bigger bloodbath when Iraq closes the camp in December.

Leaders of the group, known as the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran or MEK by its Farsi language initials, have rejected the move as a transfer into “a concentration camp.” But the offer brings renewed attention to the April 8 raid, which left at least 34 people dead, amid questions about the U.S. role in what took place there.

Iraqi authorities have claimed that many of the dead were the victims of their own people, a charge MEK leaders call outlandish. Investigators for the United Nations said that most of the dead were shot, though an unspecified number were crushed to death when Iraqi troops and armored personnel carriers moved into the camp.

What is clear is that the assault reduced the size of Camp Ashraf, the MEK’s enclave, by about one-third, to about six square miles.

Two days after the massacre, a combined U.S. civilian-military team went to the scene and performed forensic examinations of 28 of the victims and interviewed dozens of the wounded, MEK officials say. A U.S. military spokesman said some of the injured were taken to U.S. facilities for medical care. U.S. officials do not dispute the U.N. a… >>>

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