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MID: Iran army warns US forces to steer clear of borders

05 Nov 2008 7:43 PM
MID: Iran army warns US forces to steer clear of borders

TEHRAN, Nov 5 AFP - Tehran's military today urged US forces to steer clear of Iran's borders with neighbouring Iraq and warned it would respond "toany invasion," the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Recently US army helicopters have been spotted flying close to the bordersof Iraq with the Islamic republic," the armed forces headquarters said in a statement carried by the agency.

"Given the risk of their invasion ... the Islamic republic's defence forceswill respond to any invasion."

The statement has also urged US commanders in Iraq to keep their forces a secure distance from the borders to avoid any risks.

US forces launched a helicopter raid on a Syrian border village with Iraq on October 26 in which according to Damascus eight civilians including children were killed.

A US official in Washington has said the operation targeted a top militant who smuggled arms and fighters into Iraq but officially the State Department and Pentagon declined to comment.

On Monday Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, during a visit to theSyrian capital, denounced the raid and expressed "the solidarity of the Iranian people with the Syrian people after the American raid".

The US accuses Tehran of training and arming so-called "special groups" whothen launch attacks on American troops inside Iraq.

Iran vehemently denies the allegations and says ongoing violence in its war-torn neighbour is due to the presence of American forces.

In October, General Ray Odierno, who commands US forces in Iraq, accused Iran of trying to bribe Iraqi lawmakers in the hope of undermining an agreement that would allow US troops to remain in Iraq after the end of this year.

AFP tnf=0A