Kurdistan region says Iraqi forces preparing major attack
BAGHDAD: Iraqi government forces and Iranian-trained Iraqi paramilitaries are “preparing a major attack” on Kurdish forces in the oil-rich region of Kirkuk and near Mosul in northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said yesterday.
But an Iraqi military spokesman denied any attack on Kurdish forces was planned and said that government troops were instead preparing to oust Islamic State (IS) militants from a border area with Syria in the west of Iraq.
Tensions between the KRG and the Iraqi government have been running especially high since the Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence last month.
The Kurdish-held multi-ethnic region of Kirkuk has become a flashpoint in the crisis as it is claimed by both sides.
Iraqi forces and Shi’ite paramilitaries, known as Popular Mobilisation, are deployed south and west of Kirkuk.
“We’re receiving dangerous messages that Iraqi forces, including Popular Mobilisation and Federal Police, are preparing a major attack on Kurdistan,” said the KRG’s Security Council in a tweet confirmed by a Kurdish official. – Reuters