Curfew imposed in Iraq's Kirkuk city after three protests killed

Curfew was imposed in Kirkuk after clashes between Kurdish and Arab residents turn violent, killing three civilians.

In Iraq, a curfew has been imposed in Kirkuk city after rival protests between Kurdish and Arab residents turned violent killing three civilians and injuring many others, Al Jazeera reported. 

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani ordered a curfew in Kirkuk and “extensive security operations in the areas affected by the riots", a statement from his office said on Saturday.

A local official said that three civilians was killed and eight were injured, after days of brewing tensions in Kirkuk, which has historically been disputed between the federal government in Baghdad and the authorities in the autonomous Kurdish region in the north.

Arab residents had blocked a major highway for days after the headquarters of local Iraqi security forces were reportedly handed over to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), ANI reported.

In 2014, the KDP and the Peshmerga, the security forces of the autonomous Kurdish region, took control of Kirkuk, an oil-producing region of northern Iraq. Federal troops expelled them in 2017 after an abortive referendum on Kurdish independence, as per Al Jazeera reports. 

During the latest tensions, police were deployed to act as a buffer and keep apart the rival groups. 

At least three Kurds were killed and 16 people wounded Saturday during protests in the multi-ethnic Iraqi city of Kirkuk, as authorities imposed a curfew after days of tensions, AFP reported. 

Two people were shot in the chest and a third in the head, Ziad Khalaf, director of the local health authority, told AFP.

Late Saturday, Turkmen and Arab demonstrators continued their sit-in outside the security building. In another part of the city, local police chief General Kawa Gharib was trying to calm Kurdish protesters.

News Code 159213

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