Drone Attack Kills 3 Counterterrorist Fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan

A drone assault on a small airport killed three members of an elite Iraqi Kurdish counterterrorism job drive that operates in the semiautonomous area of Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

Three job drive members had been additionally wounded in the assault on the airport, which is about 17 miles southeast of Sulaymaniyah, the second largest metropolis in Kurdistan.

Turkey and extra not too long ago Iran have focused Kurdish militants from their nations who shelter in Iraq’s Kurdistan area.

The airport, principally utilized by small agricultural planes for spraying pesticides, was not too long ago repurposed to even be used as a training camp for Kurdish counterterrorism forces.

The elite forces had been centered totally on Islamic State fighters in current years, however different Islamic militant teams now additionally transfer via Iraq’s porous borders with Iran and Turkey.

The Iraqi authorities introduced early on Tuesday that the drone was launched by Turkey and referred to as on Ankara to halt such assaults.

“This aggression constitutes a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” mentioned Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasoul Abdullah, navy spokesman for the prime minister, “These repeated attacks are not consistent with the principle of good neighborly relations between countries, and threaten to undermine Iraq’s efforts to build good and balanced political, economic, and security relations with its neighbors.”

Kurdish leaders, whose territory is routinely focused by Turkey, used angrier rhetoric.

“This criminal act is an open trespassing of the border of the Kurdistan Region and of Iraq, and it is part of the conspiracy aimed at disturbing the peace and stability of the Kurdistan Region,” mentioned Bafel Talabani, president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of many two principal political events in Kurdistan and the dominant one in Sulaymaniyah.

Turkey has been significantly aggressive in utilizing drone assaults to focus on an rebel Turkish-Kurdish group, the P.Ok.Ok., recurrently bombing websites in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In April, the same drone assault occurred close to the worldwide airport in Sulaymaniyah, however there have been no casualties. Turkey denied duty for that assault.

Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar, the previous minister of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan area’s navy drive, mentioned the assault on Monday adopted the sample of Turkey’s earlier ones.

“We daily record violations by Turkey on our borders, and we do not know when these attacks will stop and when the central government would intervene to end these intrusions,” he mentioned in an interview, including that in 2023 alone, safety officers had tracked greater than 200 occasions that Turkey had both tried to breach or had breached Iraqi territory.

The International Crisis Group has documented a rising number of assaults by Turkey on P.Ok.Ok. militants inside Iraq between 2018 and 2022, with the quantity topping 300 in 2022.

Turkey has fought for many years towards the P.Ok.Ok., which undertook a violent insurgency first inside Turkey after which, after most of its fighters fled to Iraq, staged assaults from there. The United States and the European Union contemplate the P.Ok.Ok. a terrorist group.

Alissa J. Rubin reported from Baghdad. Kamil Kakol contributed reporting from Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, and Falih Hassan contributed from Baghdad.

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