BAGHDAD: Iran is building up its troops near the Iraqi border and is shelling the remote northeast borders.
Two women were injured in the shelling in the Kurdish area of Iraq for the last three days forcing evacuation of 200 families, Hussein Ahmed, the mayor of Qal'at Dizah town close to the Iranian border said.
He said several thousand Iranian soldiers could also be seen near the border.
There was no immediate comment from Tehran or Baghdad on the reports.
Earlier, the Iranian news agency Mehr said an Iranian army helicopter which crashed near the border with northern Iraq had been engaged in a military operation against the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the PKK. Iranian media said six military personnel were killed in the crash, which happened during manoeuvres involving Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Friday.
Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president promised better treatment for detainees yesterday and released pictures from inside a Baghdad prison camp that showed hundreds of inmates packed into tented wire-mesh cages.
The footage showed row upon row of outdoor tents made of wire mesh and covered with white plastic sheeting, each about the size of a basketball court and housing dozens of inmates. Prisoners, some stripped to their waists, pressed up against the mesh walls shouted their innocence. Some chanted Saddam-era Iraqi nationalist slogans.
Meanwhile, Iraq's political leaders held "cordial but candid" talks in an attempt to revive national reconciliation efforts and repair the fractured unity government. The five leaders, representing Iraq's majority Shi'ite Muslims, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, met for about 90 minutes and are expected to meet again today, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said.
Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki attended the talks with President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, Al Hashemi, Shi'ite Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, and Masoud Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Maliki, in a second visit this month to an arch foe of Washington, will go to Syria next week for three days.
Maliki will arrive in Syria tomorrow on an official three-day visit and would discuss with Syrian officials ways of developing bilateral co-operation. Mortar shells slammed into a Shi'ite enclave north of Baghdad, killing at least seven people, while officials in Kirkuk warned that a string of deadly bombings showed that insurgents were finding new ways to thwart strict security measures.