Iran says senior PKK leader Karayilan captured

Mon 15 Aug 2011 00:49 GMT | 04:49 Local Time

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Iran says senior PKK leader Karayilan captured.

A senior Iranian member of parliament said on Sunday that Iranian forces had captured a high-level member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but the Turkish Kurd rebel group denied the report.

No officials in Iran or Turkey were immediately available to confirm the report, which, if confirmed, would be a huge blow the rebel group which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's southeast since 1984.

"Our country's intelligence forces have carried out an important task and have arrested the second (highest) person in the PKK," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Boroujerdi could not immediately be contacted.

On Saturday evening a Turkish television channel reported that Iran had arrested Murat Karayilan, the PKK's field commander and deputy to jailed PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan. It later withdrew the story.

Senior PKK sources denied claims that Karayilan had been captured.

Some 40,000 people have been killed, most of them Kurdish rebels, since the PKK took up arms 27-years ago.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Boroujerdi as saying that the arrest of the PKK's number two happened "following the explosion on Iran's gas pipeline to Turkey and the measures taken by the country's intelligence forces."

Reuters

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