Iraq denies Iranian troops entered territory

 

Iranian troops briefly entered Iraqi territory yesterday and spent several hours at an Iraqi oilfield, an Iraqi official said today, but a minister later denied the report.

A security source in the southeastern Maysan province, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Iranian troops made their way onto the Fakka oilfield, located just on the Iraqi side of the two countries' long desert border.

The troops withdrew after several hours, the official said. It was not immediately clear why the troops would have undertaken such a move.

According to Arabic-language television reports, Iranian troops entered the Iraqi oilfield and raised an Iranian flag.

Iraq's deputy interior minister denied the reports.

"This news in not true. This field is disputed and now it is neglected by both sides. There was no storming of the field. It's empty, it's abandoned. It is exactly on the border of Iraq and Iran," Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji said.

Earlier, a security source in southeastern Maysan province, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iranian troops made their way onto the Fakka oilfield on Thursday but withdrew after several hours.

Reuters