Iranian exiles in Iraq agree to move camps

December 28, 2011 - 3:41 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — The head of an Iranian exile group holed up at a camp in Iraq says the first of the camp's residents are ready to move to a new location picked by the Iraqi government.

The announcement Wednesday by Maryam Rajavi averts what could have been a bloody showdown with Iraqi authorities if the group had refused to move.

The Iraqi government vowed to close Camp Ashraf, home to about 3,400 Iranian exiles, by the end of this year. The camp's residents favor the overthrow of the Iranian government.

The U.N. announced Monday a plan to move them to a new location in Baghdad, but until Wednesday, the camp's residents had not said whether they would go.

Rajavi said 400 residents are ready to move first as a sign of goodwill.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A security official says militants have fired a Katyusha rocket at a camp housing several thousand Iranian exiles in northeastern Iraq.

The Diyala province official says the attack on Camp Ashraf took place late Tuesday. It was the second rocket attack on the camp this week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The Iranian group — known as the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran — was a one-time ally of Saddam Hussein in a common fight against Iran.

The group said Wednesday the rocket fell near housing units inside the camp but that there were no casualties.

Under an agreement with the United Nations and the Iraqi government, the residents are to move to a new location in Baghdad in the coming days.