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Iraq calls for Turkey to withdraw troops after nine killed in strike on holiday resort

TURKEY faced a major backlash today after at least nine people, including children, were killed in a missile strike on a tourist resort in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Duhok province on Wednesday.

Dozens more were injured as Turkish artillery fire hit holidaymakers enjoying the summer sun in the village of Parakhe. 

The youngest victim was one-year-old Zahra Hamza. 

The Community Peacemakers Team, which has documented Turkey’s military operations for more than 12 years, said it was “the largest ever loss of civilian life from a Turkish military strike.”

It is believed that the attack was launched from the Turkish base in nearby Khatir, one of more than 80 military bases and posts established as part of an illegal de facto occupation of Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Iraq’s National Security Council said Turkey must remove all its troops from the country’s sovereign territory and demanded an official apology.  

Its Foreign Ministry has appealed to the United Nations security council to give a “maximum diplomatic response” to the shelling. 

Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein dismissed Turkey’s claim that it was fighting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and said that it was “occupying and attacking villages and civilians” and must end its military operations immediately. 

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said that Iraq has “every right to retaliate” to the Turkish aggression as a delegation was sent to the scene to investigate. 

“Once again the Turkish forces committed an explicit and blatant violation of the sovereignty of Iraq and the lives and security of Iraqi citizens through the use of artillery,” he said. 

“This brutal attack underscores the fact that Turkey ignored continuous demands to refrain from military violations against Iraqi territory and the lives of its people,” he added. 

Ankara appears to have seriously miscalculated, with embassies and offices stormed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the holy city of Najaf, where a number of the victims were from. 

On Wednesday evening Iraqis set fire to the Turkish flag during public protests in the capital, with demonstrations continuing yesterday. 

Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has also condemned the attack and said that Iraq must sever all ties with Turkey.

He called for the closure of all airports and land border crossings and the cancellation of all security agreements with Turkey. 

The killings drew a response from the Kurdistan Regional Government, with a marked change in tone as it condemned the attack, saying it was co-ordinating with Baghdad in investigations. 

The Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party is accused of colluding with Turkey in its military operations in the border area. 

Turkey denied responsibility for the missile strikes but is accused of daily bombings of Kurdish villages that have been taking place for the past 18 months, as documented by the Morning Star. 

Scottish National Party MP Chris Stephens has tabled an Early Day Motion on Turkish war crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan based on the “on the ground” report: Collusion, Conspiracy and Corruption.

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