12 wounded in mortar barrage on ethnically-mixed city in central Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-08 21:03:39|Editor: Lifang
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Twelve people were wounded Monday when mortar rounds hits an ethnically mixed city in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a security and a lawmaker said.

During the day, several mortar rounds landed on the city of Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of Salahudin's provincial capital Tikrit, leaving 12 people wounded, including three women and two children, along with damaging several houses in the city, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The mortar attack forced the city's authorities to close the doors of the schools for the day to avoid casualties among the students, the source said.

The ethnically-mixed city of Tuz-Khurmato is mostly made up of Turkoman Shiite as well as sizable Kurdish and Sunni Arab population.

Previously, the city witnessed repeated clashes between the Kurds and Shiite militias, as the city and surrounding areas are part of the disputed areas outside the Kurdistan region.

Meanwhile, the Turkoman Member of Parliament Jasim Mohammed Jaafar from the leading Shiite parliamentary bloc of National Alliance, confirmed the mortar attack on Tuz-Khurmato and accused Kurdish militants of carrying out series of mortar attacks on the city after the Iraqi federal security forces retook control of the city from the Kurdish Peshmerga.

"These mortar rounds were launched by Kurdish gangs," Jaafar said, demanding reinforcement of federal troops to be dispatched immediately to stop such attacks on civilians.

Tuz-Khurmato is part of disputed areas claimed by the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans. The Kurds want to incorporate the areas on the edge of their Kurdistan region, but their move is fiercely opposed by Baghdad government and non-Kurdish residents.

On Oct. 16, the Iraqi security forces fully redeployed in Tuz-Khurmato after the withdrawal of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, at the same day when the Iraqi forces redeployed on the nearby oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

The mortar barrage on the city came as tensions are running high between Baghdad government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the Kurdish region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas.