- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

ARBIL, Iraq, March 25 (UPI) — Iraqi Kurdish forces have repulsed an attack by Ansar al-Islam in an area near the Iranian border in a first such offensive since the Muslim hardliners' positions in northern Iraq was hit by a U.S. missile strike, a Kurdish official said Tuesday.

Saadi Bira told United Press International that the Peshmerga forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, run by Jalal Talabani, repulsed Monday an attack by Ansar al-Islam which was believed to have links with al-Qaida.

Bira, the PUK official in Arbil, said three of the attackers were killed during clashes that took place in Anab, a village near the Iranian border.

He said the PUK fighters were ready to oust the Ansar al-Islam guerrillas from their strongholds in the villages of Bayara and Tawila.

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