Three people were killed Monday in an airstrike on a military airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, local officials said.
The region’s counter-terrorism agency said in a statement that the attack on Arbat airport, 28 kilometers southeast of the city of Sulaymaniyah, killed three of its personnel and wounded three members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
The airport had recently undergone rehabilitation to facilitate the training of anti-terrorist units linked to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two often competing main parties in the region, whose headquarters are in Sulaymaniyah.
The counter-terrorism agency did not blame any party for the attack, but Soleimani’s government in a statement urged “countries in the region to respect the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq,” implying that the strike was carried out by Turkey.
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Also on Monday, the Kurdistan National Congress, an umbrella organization of Kurdish groups and parties, said in a statement that one of its members was “murdered” inside the group’s office in Erbil without giving further details.
Turkey frequently launches strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq it believes are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that has waged an insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s.
In April, Turkey closed its airspace to flights to and from Sulaymaniyah International Airport, citing an alleged increase in Kurdish militant activity that threatens flight safety.
Days later, the Syrian Democratic Forces – Kurdish-led forces operating in northeastern Syria that are allies of the United States in the fight against Islamic State but considered by Turkey to be an offshoot of the PKK – accused Turkey of launching a strike on the airport when the commander of the SDF Mazloum Abdi was at the scene. Abdi was unharmed.