Guterres calls for ‘thorough’ investigation into death of nine tourists in attack in Iraqi Kurdistan

The United Nations Secretary General has called for a “thorough” investigation into the death of nine Iraqi tourists in an artillery attack blamed on Turkey against a resort located in Zajo, in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan (north).

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the attack and called for “determining the circumstances surrounding the attack” and “ensuring that there is accountability,” his deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, stressed.

“The secretary-general expresses his deep condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured,” Haq said, after Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, Ali Riza Guney, on Thursday to protest the incident.

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Iraq’s National Security Council on Wednesday demanded that Turkey “officially apologize” and “withdraw its military forces” from Iraqi territory, before criticizing Ankara for “ignoring” Iraq’s “continuous requests” to “stop its violations against Iraq’s sovereignty and the safety of its citizens.”

The Turkish government has rejected the accusations from Baghdad and has claimed that the attack would have been carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has dissociated itself from what happened and has charged against the Turkish Army.

Turkey announced in mid-April the start of a new offensive against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, which was described by Baghdad as a “threat to national security”, given that the operations were not being coordinated. The Turkish Army also recurrently conducts military operations against the PKK and its allies in northern Syria since the ceasefire between the government and the armed group was broken in July 2015.

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