A drone assault on a small airport killed three members of an elite Iraqi Kurdish counterterrorism process drive that operates within the semiautonomous area of Kurdistan in northern Iraq.
Three process drive members have been additionally wounded within the assault on the airport, which is about 17 miles southeast of Sulaymaniyah, the second largest metropolis in Kurdistan.
Turkey and extra just lately Iran have focused Kurdish militants from their respective international locations who shelter in Iraq’s Kurdistan area. The airport, principally utilized by small agricultural planes for spraying pesticides, was just lately repurposed to even be used as a coaching camp for Kurdish counterterrorism forces. The elite forces have been centered totally on Islamic State fighters in recent times, however now there are different Islamic militant teams that additionally transfer by Iraq’s porous borders with Iran and Turkey.
“We strongly condemn the terrorist assault,” stated Bafel Talabani, president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of many two essential political events in Kurdistan and the dominant one in Sulaymaniyah. “This prison act is an open trespassing of the border of the Kurdistan Area and of Iraq, and it’s a part of the conspiracy aimed toward disturbing the peace and stability of the Kurdistan Area.”
Mr. Talabani didn’t say which nation or group he believed was accountable for the assault.
Officers in Baghdad didn’t instantly touch upon the assault.
Turkey has been notably aggressive in utilizing drone assaults to focus on the rebel Turkish-Kurdish group, the P.Ok.Ok., recurrently bombing websites in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In April, an identical 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 army drive, stated the assault on Monday adopted the sample of Turkey’s earlier ones.
“We every day document violations by Turkey on our borders, and we have no idea when these assaults will cease and when the central authorities would intervene to finish these intrusions,” he stated in an interview, including that in 2023 alone, safety officers had tracked greater than 200 instances that Turkey had both tried to breach or had breached Iraqi territory.
The Worldwide Disaster 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 US 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.