Ten­sions es­ca­late in Iraq over Kurds

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

Ten­sions es­ca­lated be­tween Iraq’s Kurds and Bagh­dad on Thurs­day as warn­ings of a “ma­jor at­tack” by gov­ern­ment forces prompted Kur­dish pesh­merga fight­ers to tem­po­rar­ily block roads from other parts of the coun­try.

The move came just over two weeks af­ter Kur­dish vot­ers over­whelm­ingly backed in­de­pen­dence in a non-bind- ing ref­er­en­dum the cen­tral gov­ern­ment slammed as il­le­gal. Iraqi Kur­dish forces closed the two main roads con­nect­ing Ar­bil and Do­huk with Mo­sul for sev­eral hours, a Kur­dish mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said.

“The clo­sure was prompted by fears of a pos­si­ble at­tack by Iraqi forces on the dis­puted ar­eas,” held by Kur­dish forces but out­side the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion, the of­fi­cial said. Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties said late Wed­nes­day they feared Iraqi gov­ern­ment forces and al­lied para­mil­i­tary units were gear­ing up to launch an as­sault on the au­ton­o­mous north­ern re­gion. “We’re re­ceiv­ing dan­ger­ous mes­sages that the para­mil­i­tary forces are pre­par­ing an at­tack from Kirkuk.

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