Iraq on Thursday strongly criticized Iranian artillery barrages against Kurdish guerrilla positions in border areas, warning that if such shelling continue it will negatively effect relations between the two neighboring countries. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari made his comments amid reports from northern Iraq that villagers in border areas in the provinces of Sulaimaniyah and Irbil have been fleeing their homes as a result of Iranian shelling. Iranian shelling "has been ongoing and unfortunately has become a daily or a routine practice. Recently, we summoned the Iranian ambassador and handed him a note of protest," Zebari said in English. He added that the Iraqi government "demanded an immediate cessation of these attacks on innocent people because it has led to extensive damage to the property, to the environment of the area and it also has led many people to leave their homes because of the continuation of the shelling."