Curfew imposed on Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk after violent clashes

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At least one civilian died and several were wounded on Saturday when clashes erupted during protests in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a local official said.

The identity and the circumstances surrounding the death were not immediately clear, the director of the local health authority Ziad Khalaf told AFP.

The official said eight people were wounded, one of them a member of the security forces, and that the wounded had been hit by bullets, stones or glass.

Kirkuk police spokesman Amer Shuani told regional broadcaster Kurdistan 24 that the toll was “one dead and five injured”.

A curfew had been imposed and police were sent to keep apart rival protest groups – Kurdish residents on one side and Turkmen and Arabs on the other.

Warning shots were fired to force Kurdish demonstrators to disperse. An AFP correspondent said vehicles on a main avenue were set on fire.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani ordered the curfew in Kirkuk with “extensive security operations in the areas affected by the riots”, a statement from his office said.

He called on all parties to “play their part in preventing strife and preserving security, stability, and order in Kirkuk governorate”.

Mr Al Sudani ordered security forces in the province “to fulfil their responsibilities in maintaining security and upholding the rule of law”.

Tensions have been brewing for nearly a week in Kirkuk.

By: Simon Rushton

Source: The National

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