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Iraqis fire mortars at Kurds

From CNN Correspondent Kevin Sites

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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CHAMCHAMAL, Northern Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi forces Thursday fired a pair of mortar rounds into Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Iraq, but observers at a Kurd checkpoint a kilometer away could not say what was targeted.

The attack came a day after Iraqis launched a Katusha rocket attack into Kurdish territory near Chamchamal in Northern Iraq Wednesday night, a Kurdish commander told CNN Thursday.

Ibrahim Osheed, commander of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the area, said Kurd fighters counted 40 rockets fired toward the town of Saidan.

"It seems that the Iraqis are afraid of being attacked by the Kurds so they do such a thing to have the upper hand on the Kurds," he said.

Officials in Chamchamal, on the border between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and territory controlled by the Kurds, said the town of 50,000 was basically empty as residents, fearing chemical or biological attacks, fled further from the border.

About six Iraqi tanks that had been stationed on the hills near Kurdish positions pulled back toward Iraq's oil rich city of Kirkuk.

Officials in Chamchamal also said that U.S. fighter jets flew over the nearby town of Qarahanjir Wednesday afternoon and drew anti-aircraft fire.

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