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40 Years of Hezbollah


Angry Iraq Mourns Dead from Turkish Shelling

Angry Iraq Mourns Dead from Turkish Shelling
folder_openMiddle East... access_time 27 days ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi declared a day of national mourning Thursday after nine holidaymakers were killed in the bombardment of a Kurdish hill village he blamed on neighboring Turkey.

The bodies were to be flown to Baghdad from the Kurdish regional capital Arbil to be handed over to the families for burial in their hometowns in southern and central Iraq, a Kurdish official said.

Thursday's shelling in the Zakho district village of Parakh also wounded 23 people, the majority of them domestic tourists seeking respite from the heat of the plains in the mountains of the Kurdish north.

The deaths in a village pleasure garden prompted several dozen angry demonstrators to protest outside the Turkish visa office in Baghdad early Thursday, despite a heavy police presence.

Loudspeakers blared out patriotic songs as protesters chanted slogans demanding the expulsion of the Turkish ambassador, an AFP journalist reported.

There were similar protests on Wednesday night in the cities of Najaf and Karbala and in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

In a strong rebuke, the prime minister warned Turkey on Wednesday that Iraq reserves the "right to retaliate", calling the artillery fire a "flagrant violation" of sovereignty -- a line echoed by the North's autonomous regional government.

Iraq said it was recalling its charge d'affaires from Ankara and demanded an official apology from Turkey along with "the withdrawal of its armed forces from all Iraqi territory."

The Turkish foreign ministry denied responsibility for the bombardment, claiming these "kinds of attacks" were committed by "terrorist organizations."