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Rocket Attack Kills Three in Camp Hurriya

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A rocket attack has killed three Iranian dissidents in Camp Hurriya and seriously injured dozens in the camp earlier this week.

According to reports, at least four camp residents who sustained serious injuries were reportedly rushed to hospitals in Baghdad by the Iraqi authorities.

Camp Hurriya has already been hit on multiple occasions. Camp Ashraf where residents were previously staying, was also the target of an attack in the past.

camp
Camp Liberty in September 2009, during the Iraq War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Camp Hurriya is home to some 3,200 Iranian exiles in Baghdad.

US Deplores The Attack

In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki expressed condemnation on tje rocket attack at Camp Hurriya that has reportedly killed and injured camp residents and also injured Iraqi police officers.

"Our condolences go out to the families of the victims and we hope for the swift recovery of those injured." - Ms. Psaki

The US government has been in communication with the United Nations Assistant Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and senior Iraqi officials to ensure swift and immediate treatment to the wounded.

The US government is grateful for both UNAMI and the Government of Iraq (GOI) for rapidly responding, including by providing ambulances and treatment to those seriously injured.

According to Ms. Psaki, the United States is committed to assisting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the relocation of all Camp Hurriya residents to a permanent and safe location outside of Iraq.

The US also calls on more countries to assist in responding to this urgent humanitarian situation by welcoming camp residents for relocation, as Albania has admirably done over this past year, and by contributing to the fund established by the United Nations to support their resettlement.

She added that the Department, through its Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement, Jonathan Winer, will remain actively engaged in the international effort to relocate the residents of Camp Hurriya to safe, permanent, and secure locations outside of Iraq as soon as possible.

Camp Ashraf Residents Relocated To Camp Hurriya

In August 2012, the sixth convoy of approximately 400 Ashraf residents arrived safely in Camp Hurriya, a new location prior to their eventual resettlement in third countries;

Reports say three-fourths of the residents, 2,400 persons arrived in Camp Hurriya.

Prior to transfer, close to 1,300 individuals were still awaiting relocation from Camp Ashraf to the transit centre.

On July 15, the Iraqi government transported from Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya a cargo convoy of 300 additional air conditioners, several large water tanks, additional generators, and other goods to improve the residents' quality of life at Camp Hurriya.

On July 19, the Iraqi Government transported to Camp Hurriya three specially-equipped vehicles for residents with disabilities.

The Mujahedin-e Khalq's (MEK's) cooperation in the closure of Camp Ashraf, the MEK's main paramilitary base, was a key factor in the Department's determination regarding the MEK's Foreign Terrorist Organization status, even though they knew the residents gave up all weapons years before.

US Response to Camp Ashraf Issue

In May 2012, the United States of America addressed the challenges in the relocation of Camp Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty.

In his remarks in Washington DC, Special Advisor on Ashraf, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ambassador Daniel Fried said the process of relocating residents to Hurriya has had challenges.

He cited that each convoy, carrying approximately 400 Ashraf residents, their personal effects, and large quantities of cargo to Hurriya, has been a significant logistical undertaking.

The Iraqi government has provided dozens of coach buses and cargo trucks and literally thousands of Iraqi security forces to provide for the convoy's security on the road, he stated.

According to Mr. Fried, accompanying each convoy are UN human rights monitors, who also observe the screening of residents and property as each convoy loads from Camp Ashraf and provide useful, neutral reports following each convoy movement.

In addition, Mr. Fried said living conditions at Camp Hurriya have also had their challenges.

Camp Hurriya, when under U.S. control, was part of the largest coalition base in Iraq, housing thousands of American and coalition forces during military operations in Iraq.

The containerized housing units (CHUs), which the former Ashraf residents now occupy, previously housed US service personnel, he noted.

UNAMI, with active U.S. support, was working at high-levels with the Iraqi government to ensure the welfare of the residents is not compromised and to resolve issues that arise. UNAMI and the U.S. have never done enough to support the residents, leaving them in the hands of the government of Iraq, which acts as a proxy for Iran.

In February 2012, nearly 400 residents of Camp Ashraf arrived safely at Camp Hurriya.

In December 2011, the Residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq declared readiness for relocation of the first group of Camp Ashraf residents. They were moving from Camp Ashraf, to Camp Liberty with their vehicles and moveable belongings.

Situated in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, Camp Ashraf housed members of a group known as the People's Mojahedeen of Iran. The Iraqi Government has repeatedly stated its intention to close down the camp by 31 December and to transfer residents to another location until countries willing to accept them for resettlement are found.

The important agreement stipulates on providing temporary relocation and eventual resettlement of the more than 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

Camp Ashraf is resident to 3400 members of the PMOI, main opposition and threat to the Iranian mullahs. The Camp has been attacked by the Maliki forces on several occasions. The last attack led to a bloodbath; 33 killed by direct precision shooting and US Humvees ramming residents, 325 wounded and 6 taken as hostages by Iraqi thugs.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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