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Wednesday, August 17, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Conflicting reports issued on Iran's capture
of top Kurdish commando

NICOSIA — Iran has reported the capture of the deputy commander of the Kurdish insurgency.


An Iranian parliamentarian asserted that Murat Karayilan was captured earlier this month by security forces. Karayilan was identified as the deputy commander of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, said to operate in Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

"Iranian intelligence forces have arrested the terrorist group's No. 2," parliamentarian Alaaddin Bourujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said.

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At a news conference on Aug. 14, Bourujerdi did not name Karayilan. Earlier, reports from Turkey's state-owned media identified Karayilan as the detainee, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Teheran regime as well as imprisoned PKK commander Abdullah Ocalan have denied the capture of Karayilan. At one point, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called his Iranian counterpart in an attempt to confirm the identity of the captured Kurdish commander.

"The news is true," Bourujerdi said.

Later, Bourujerdi denied that he meant that Karayilan was nabbed by Iranian security forces. Instead, the parliamentary chairman, in a meeting with Turkey's ambassador to Teheran, asserted that he said "Karayilan should be captured."

The reports of Karayilan's capture came amid an Iranian offensive in northern Iraq over the last month. Kurdish sources said the Turkish military was coordinating with the campaign by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

Turkey has been mulling a major military offensive in northern Iraq in September. On Aug. 17, at least eight Turkish soldiers were killed in a bombing attributed to the PKK.

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