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    Iraq promises inquiry on Iranian exile killings

    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened an investigation.
    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened an investigation.

    BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister ordered an investigation Monday into the slaying of half of the roughly 100 remaining residents at an Iranian dissident camp north of Baghdad, where a UN team got its first look at the aftermath of the large-scale bloodshed.

    The promised inquiry will do little to appease backers of the more than 3,000 exiles left inside Iraq who believe they remain targets in a country whose government wants them gone.

    Supporters of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq members living at Camp Ashraf say the Saddam Hussein-era facility came under attack Sunday from Iraqi forces. Iraqi officials have denied involvement, with some suggesting there was an internal dispute at the camp.


    Iraqi police entered the camp Monday and began to investigate, said Jamil al-Shimari, the police chief of Diyala province, where the camp is located. He confirmed 52 people had been killed inside the camp, the first time an Iraqi official has provided a death toll that matched that given by representatives for the exiles.

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    In a separate development Monday, authorities said a prominent militia leader opposed to Al Qaeda escaped an assassination attempt in Baghdad Monday that killed six of his body guards and one civilian and wounded eight people, authorities said. Two suicide bombers attacked the motorcade of Wisam al-Hardan, the militia leader, near his house in Baghdad’s western Harthiyah neighborhood.

    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office said a special committee is being set up to investigate what happened at Camp Ashraf, about 60 miles northeast of the Iraqi capital.

    In a statement, it said the Iraqi government is committed to ensuring the safety of people living within its borders. But the terse remarks also made clear Baghdad’s impatience with resolving the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq issue, stressing ‘‘the necessity of transferring the MEK members who are staying in Iraq illegally.’’

    Associated Press