Publish date21 Jul 2022 - 10:37
Story Code : 558402

31 civilians killed, injured in Turkish attack on northern Iraq

At least eight civilians have lost their lives and 23 others wounded as Turkish military targets tourist resort in Iraqi semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
31 civilians killed, injured in Turkish attack on northern Iraq
Health officials and local authorities said the projectiles struck the village of Parkhe in the Darkar sub-district of the region on Wednesday afternoon, leaving eight tourists, including children and women, dead and 23 others injured.

Chiya Amin, head of the tourism directorate of Zakho city, told the Kurdish-language Rudaw television news network that the victims were part of a 200-strong group from the capital Baghdad.

Zakho mayor Muhsin Bashir said Turkey bombarded Parkhe village, claiming that members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group were roaming freely in the area.

Video footage published on social media platforms showed injured and dead people being rushed to Zakho’s health center in taxis, civilian vehicles, and ambulances.

Kurdistan 24 television news station showed dozens of people gathering at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry has condemned in the strongest terms the Turkish artillery attack against the tourist resort in the Kurdistan region.

“The offensive represents a flagrant violation of Iraq's sovereignty, and constitutes a clear threat to the security of civilians – a number of whom were killed and injured as a result.

“This shelling is an attack on the security of Iraq and stability of its people. We affirm our categorical rejection of such assaults, which are in violation of international charters and principles,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement went on to note that Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has ordered the formation of an investigative committee, headed by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and made up of several high-ranking security officials, in order to thoroughly look into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry stressed that a diplomatic response at the highest level will be adopted in connection with the deadly artillery attack, and the case will be referred to the UN Security Council.

Additionally, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi called on the government to take necessary measures to investigate the artillery attack in the northern province of Dohuk.

Halbousi wrote in a post published on his Twitter page that Iraq should not be an open arena for the settlement of regional issues and foreign conflicts, for which Iraqis pay the price with their blood.

“We call on the government to take necessary measures to investigate the development, and utilize all means in order to protect the country and nation,” he added.

The leader of the political coalition al-Sadiqoun Bloc, Adnan Fihan Moussa Cheri, also lambasted Turkey's attacks and condemned Ankara for violation of the Iraqi people’s dignity and cold-blooded killings.

He said the vicious acts take place amid the inaction of the Baghdad government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), calling on relevant authorities to take immediate measures and assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis Iraq’s sovereignty, security, and lives of ordinary people.

The bombing comes a few days after at least five people, including a woman, were killed in a Turkish drone strike.

Iraqi security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the victims lost their lives after a drone bombarded their vehicle in the Tigris region, west of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, on Sunday. 

The sources said that two people were also injured in the attack, which occurred approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Baghdad.

Ambulances were dispatched to the scene of the incident and took the dead bodies to the forensics, they added.

Najm al-Jubouri, the governor of Nineveh province, said in a separate statement that the attack took place at around 2:20 p.m. local time when a Turkish drone targeted a civilian vehicle west of Mosul.

Jubouri said such attacks would destabilize the security situation in the Iraqi province, calling for a protest by the Iraqi government, Xinhua news agency reported.

Turkey launched a new cross-border incursion into Iraq, dubbed Operation Claw-Lock, in April. The air-and-ground military attacks target suspected strongholds of the PKK militants in Zab, Basiyan, Avasheen, and Korajiwar districts in the Kurdistan region. 

The Iraqi government summoned the Turkish ambassador, Ali Riza Guney, shortly afterward and handed him a “strongly worded” protest note over the offensive, calling it a blatant violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty. 

For its part, Ankara also summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires and warned him that the military operations will continue if Baghdad doesn’t take action against PKK members. 

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.
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