Tehran Wants Firm Action Against Killers of Iranian Gas Workers in Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian ambassador to Iraq on Sunday asked for identification, arrest, and proper punishment of the terrorists who on Friday evening shot dead 20 Iranian gas engineers and technicians near Baghdad.
While visiting the crime site, Ambassador Hassan Danaiefar, who was accompanied by some Iraqi military commanders, asked Iraqi officials to bring to justice those responsible for the attack to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.
The Iranian diplomat meanwhile called on Iraq to provide full security for the Iranian engineers, technicians and construction staffers working on the Naftshar-Baghdad gas pipeline.
Ali Ghaidan, Commander of Iraq’s Ground Forces, said the issue would be investigated, adding that a new protection mechanism has been planned and the Iraqi Army would be put in charge of providing security for the Iranian workers.
The Iraqi government has also set up an investigation committee comprised of high-ranking military and security officials to probe the Friday attack.
In related news, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki offered his condolences to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the Friday killing of 20 Iranians in the terrorist attack.
In his message to President Rouhani, Maleki condemned the terrorist incident and reaffirmed Baghdad’s determination to punish its perpetrators.
Masked gunmen on Friday shot dead 25 people, including 20 Iranians, working on a pipeline outside the northeastern Iraqi town of Muqdadiya, some 80 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Five other Iranians and two Iraqis were injured in the terrorist attack.
Earlier reports put the death toll from the friday attack at 15 Iranian workers, along with 3 Iraqis.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the workers, but the Iraqi arm of al-Qaeda is said to be active in the area.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the attack and said that an investigation has been launched to determine the full dimensions of the truth about the terrorist act.
Iran signed a deal in July to build a pipeline and import gas into Iraq to fuel three power plants in the provinces of Baghdad and Diyala, where the attack took place.
Violence in Iraq this year has reached a level not seen since 2008.
The UN has said the monthly death toll dropped to 659 in November, including 565 civilians and 94 members of the Iraqi security forces, compared with 979 in October.
But more than 7,150 civilians and 950 security forces personnel have now been killed since January, the highest annual toll since 2008.