Artillery fire hits Iraq town despite ceasefire: officials
AFP, Apr 25 2016
KIRKUK – Artillery fire killed a civilian on Monday in Tuz Khurmatu, a northern Iraqi town that has been hit by deadly fighting between Kurdish and Turkmen forces. Fighting broke out at the weekend in Tuz Khurmatu between the autonomous Kurdish region’s peshmerga forces and Turkmen members of the Hashed al-Shaabi militia umbrella organisation for the second time in six months. Mohammed Koja, deputy governor of Salah’ed-Din province, said:
Clashes were renewed sporadically in Tuz, but it was not like yesterday.
Koja said that mortar rounds and rocket fire had killed one person and wounded four. A police colonel confirmed the toll, but it was unclear which side killed the civilian. The initial clashes between Turkmen and Kurdish forces began at around midnight Saturday and continued into Sunday. Hadi al-Ameri, the commander of the Badr militia, announced at a press conference on Sunday afternoon that a ceasefire deal had been reached. A witness in the town said gunfire and periodic explosions could still be heard. PM Abadi ordered the Joint Operations Command to take “all necessary measures” to end the clashes, and urged the leaders of the forces involved to “focus efforts against the common terrorist enemy represented by the Daesh gangs,” a statement from his office said. The fighting in Tuz Khurmatu between Kurdish peshmerga and Turkmen Hashed al-Shaabi began last November that began as a dispute at a checkpoint escalated into clashes inside the town. Dozens of homes were burned, and the town has been split between Kurdish and Turkmen areas. Baghdad turned to the Hashed al-Shaabi, which is dominated by Iran-backed Shiites, in 2014. Kurdish forces in the north have largely fought independently of federal troops.