Shafaq News/ The Kirkuk Police Command has imposed a comprehensive curfew in the governorate in response to rising security tensions. This move follows a series of events that have plunged the region into turmoil.
In an official statement, the police have urged Kirkuk residents to remain indoors and avoid being influenced by false slogans and statements that could exacerbate the already volatile situation.
The unrest began with a demonstration by a group of Kirkuk residents demanding the reopening of the Erbil-Kirkuk road, which has been blocked for an extended period. The road closure has caused significant disruptions to the region's daily life and economic activities.
A security source revealed that the protests turned violent, resulting in one fatality and ten injuries. The violence erupted alongside the demonstrations, underscoring the deep-seated tensions in the area.
In a separate incident, a civil defense team from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, which had been assisting Arbaeen pilgrims, was attacked by unidentified assailants in Kirkuk. The group, comprising 12 vehicles and over 40 members, had completed its mission and was returning to Erbil when demonstrators of Arab and Turkmen origin assaulted them. This attack led to injuries and damage to personnel and equipment.
Two team members sustained injuries, and three vehicles were vandalized during the attack, with the assailants resorting to throwing stones and wielding sticks.
The motive behind this attack remains unknown, and authorities have not confirmed if it is directly related to the recent protests in the governorate.
A security delegation led by the Commander of Joint Operations has arrived in Kirkuk to assess the situation, hoping to resolve the ongoing crisis this week.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has called upon the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, to intervene and end the blockade of the Kirkuk-Erbil road, viewing it as a provocation that threatens civil peace.
Expressing "deep concern over the situation in Kirkuk," the PUK highlighted the road's importance, which connects the governorate to Erbil. Its closure has severely impacted the movement of citizens, employees, students, and patients.
The PUK stressed the urgency of security forces taking action to restore societal peace in Kirkuk and prevent undesirable consequences, holding the security forces in Kirkuk responsible for safeguarding citizens' lives and property.
In response, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, PM Al-Sudani, issued directives to impose a curfew in Kirkuk Governorate. He emphasized the need to prevent civilians from carrying weapons and instructed security forces to take a firm stance against any party attempting to disrupt Kirkuk's security.
Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the Commander-in-Chief's spokesman, announced that broad security operations would be initiated in areas affected by recent riots to conduct thorough inspections. He also urged all political parties, social organizations, and the public to contribute to preventing strife and maintaining security, stability, and order in Kirkuk Governorate.
The security situation in Kirkuk remains tense as various groups reject the Iraqi government's decision to evacuate the Kurdistan Democratic Party's headquarters.