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Kurdish Parties Offices Attacked in Duhok

Kurdish Parties Offices Attacked in Duhok

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017 - 09:15
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) building is seen after it was burnt overnight, in the town of Zakho, Iraq October 30, 2017. (Reuters)

Two Kurdish political parties reported attacks on their offices, hours after Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani announced his resignation, effective November 1.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Movement for Change announced in separate statements that several of their offices in the Duhok region, north Irbil, were looted or burned overnight, however no casualties were reported.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stated that it had ordered the local police forces, known as Asayish, to stop the attacks, according to Reuters.

In addition, a number of armed protesters supporting Barzani stormed parliament on Sunday during his meeting to approve his resignation. Opposition parties stated that a number of their members were barricaded inside but managed to leave later.

The PUK and Movement for Change supported Barzani's decision to hold the independence referendum, however the movement stated that its timing was wrong.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Media and Communication Commission in charge of supervising media in Baghdad issued on Sunday a ban on Rudaw and Kurdistan 24, two major Kurdish TV channels known for their close ties to Kurdish Democratic Party.

The Commission accused the two networks of “inciting violence and hatred.”

In a letter to the International Federation of Journalists, Irbil-based Kurdistan 24 Channel described this as an "assault on freedom of press and expression.”

In other news, a Kurdish cameraman working with the Irbil-based Kurdistan TV was stabbed to death by a number of unidentified gunmen in town of Daquq south of Kirkuk, according to a security source.

The source stated that a number of unidentified masked gunmen stormed the house of cameraman Arkan Sharifi and stabbed him to death after they locked his family in a room.

Sharifi, 50, had two daughters and a son. He had been working with the Kurdistan TV for 13 years. He was also head of a primary school in Daquq.

Several Kurdish media outlets accused Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of violations against civilians, as Rudaw accused PMF fighters of killing the Kurdish journalist.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued a statement, condemning the killing of the journalist.

The Mission called on the authorities to investigate the stabbing and bring the perpetrators to justice.

"The Mission calls on the authorities to do their utmost to ensure the safety of all citizens, including journalists and politicians, and media outlets," added the statement.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory denounced the killing of Sharifi and warned against involving journalists in the ongoing struggle between the parties and the disputed areas.

The Observatory pointed out that since 2003, 302 Iraqi and foreign media workers had been killed, including 171 journalists, and 73 technicians and assistants while reporting their duty in Iraq.

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