AFP

Iraqi border guards exchanged fire with Iranian troops along the two countries’ border yesterday, the first major incident between the two since Iran took over a disputed oil well in December.

An Iraqi officer was captured by the Islamic Republic’s forces in the 90-minute gunfight on the border with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, which was apparently sparked when Iranian troops mistook Iraqi soldiers for a Kurdish rebel group.

“Iranian forces thought that the border guards belonged to PJAK (the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan – an Iranian Kurdish rebel group) and started to open fire,” Brigadier General Ahmed Gharib Diskara, the head of Iraq’s border guards in Sulaimaniyah province, told reporters.