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Kurdistan Demands 'More Serious' Stance from Baghdad after Latest Rocket Barrage

Kurdistan Demands 'More Serious' Stance from Baghdad after Latest Rocket Barrage

Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 - 05:15
Vehicles drive along a main road during a sandstorm in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, on April 7, 2022. (AFP)

President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani called on the federal government in Baghdad to take a "more serous" stances in condemning the rocket attacks that have been taking place in the Region in recent months.

A missile attack targeted an oil refinery in the Kurdistan capital, Erbil on Sunday causing a fire in one of its main tanks that was later brought under control. A missile also landed in the outer fence of the refinery without causing any casualties.

The anti-terrorism authorities in the Kurdistan Region said six missiles landed near the KAR refinery in Erbil, adding they were launched from Nineveh province. The security forces said they found a launch pad and four missiles in the Nineveh Plain after the attack and defused them.

Three missiles also fell near the refinery on April 6, without causing any casualties. Sources in the Kurdistan Regional Government told Reuters then that the refinery is owned by Iraqi Kurdish businessman Baz Karim Barzanji, CEO of major domestic energy company the KAR Group.

In March, Iran attacked Erbil with a dozen ballistic missiles in an unprecedented assault on the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region that appeared to target the United States and its allies. Only one person was hurt in that attack.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi telephoned Barzani after the attacks, vowing that the "armed forces will arrest the perpetrators of this cowardly attack."

Such attacks will only consolidate the unity and determination of the Iraqi people in defeating terrorism and respecting the law, he added in a statement.

On Monday, Barzani said: "Sufficing with condemning these attacks is useless."

He warned that future attacks will jeopardize security and stability.

"The Iraqi federal government is responsible for working with great seriousness in stopping these attacks," he stressed in a statement.

It must coordinate with relevant Kurdish authorities to prevent them from happening again, he demanded.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan security council called on Baghdad to "purge" the Nineveh Plain of outlawed groups.

The region has become platform for rocket attacks on Kurdistan, it said in a statement.

It singled out the al-Hamdaniya district in the Nineveh Plain as a hotbed for outlawed groups. The district is located between the headquarters of the commando unit of the Nineveh operations command, headquarters of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and Shabak Militia of the Popular Mobilization Forces.

These areas are under the control of the federal government forces, calling on Baghdad to impose security and stability there and "purge it of terrorists and gangs."

Member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, former presidential candidate and minister Hoshyar Zebari held armed factions - a reference to Iran-backed groups - responsible for the rocket attacks.

"The Eid al-Fitr gift of the outlawed armed factions to the Kurdish people was a barrage of rockets," he tweeted.

Addressing the Baghdad government, he wondered how long the state and security of the county would continue to be challenged by "armed sectarian groups."

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