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Iraq: Three dead and 16 injured in incidents in Kirkuk

Three Kurds were killed and 16 other people were injured on Saturday in Iraqduring incidents in Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city in the north of the country, where authorities imposed a curfew after several days of tensions.

Two of the three dead were hit by bullets in the chest and the third in the head, the head of Kirkuk’s health services, Ziad Halaf, told AFP. One victim was 21 years old, the other two 37.

The wounded – 16, according to the most recent report by the authorities – were hit by “bullets, stones, or glasses”according to Mr. Halaf, who clarified that among them are three members of the law enforcement forces.

Mr. Halaf had mentioned earlier that the wounded are both Kurds and Arabs. Yesterday, rival demonstrations brought together Kurdish residents on one side and Turkish and Arab protesters on the other and clashes broke out, despite the deployment of security forces.

Law enforcement forces opened warning fire to force Kurdish protesters to disperse.

Several vehicles were set on fire on a boulevard, an AFP correspondent reported.

At least 31 protesters were brought in, five of whom were armed, a security official in Kirkuk said.

Prime Minister Mohammed Zia al-Sudani called for an “investigation committee” to be set up to determine the causes of the killings.

For nearly a week, tensions have been escalating in Kirkuk, a city historically claimed by the federal government in Baghdad and authorities in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region in the north.

On Monday, protesters belonging to the Arab and Turkmen communities staged a sit-in near a security forces headquarters in Kirkuk province after reports emerged that the Iraqi prime minister had ordered the facility to be handed over to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), in which belonged to the past.

Yesterday Saturday, Kurdish protesters mobilized in turn and tried to march to the headquarters.

The authorities pushed back to calm spirits, with the head of the Kirkuk provincial authorities, Rakan Saeed al-Jubouri, announcing that the withdrawal of security forces from the headquarters had been postponed to ensure an end to the sit-in by Arabs and Turks. protesters.

For their part, Kurdish protesters continued the mobilizations yesterday in another area of ​​the city where they set fire to car tires.

Mr Sudani yesterday ordered “the imposition of a curfew in Kirkuk” and “operations by security forces to clear areas affected by the unrest”.

Although relations between Baghdad and Arbil are difficult, the government of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has managed in recent months to improve them.

During a phone call with leaders of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, Iraqi federal Prime Minister Sudani and longtime Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani agreed to work together to “defeat those who want to harm the security and stability of Kirkuk.” .

In 2014, the DKK and the Peshmerga, the security forces of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, took control of Kirkuk province, home to large oil fields. They were driven out in 2017 by federal troops, following the failed referendum on Kurdish independence.

Source: News Beast

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