Iraqi Kurdistan servicemen in Kirkuk province, Iraq

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Two officers of the Iranian Border Guard were killed in clashes with an armed gang on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, Mehr reported Wednesday.

About 20 armed men made an attempt to enter Iran from the Iraqi territory, the Mehr news agency reported, citing the Iranian Border Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Ghasem Rezaei.

READ MORE: Iraq Reportedly Urges Turkey, Iran to Close Borders With Iraqi Kurdistan

The criminals had to return back to Iraq after Iranian authorities sent reinforcement to the area of clashes, the media outlet added.

The situation in the region escalated after 90 percent of Kurds voted in September in favor of the autonomy’s secession from Iraq. Baghdad, for its part, has called the referendum illegal and launched a military operation to recapture the Kurdish-held disputed areas of the country, while also imposing sanctions on Kurdish authorities.