Saturday, December 31, 2011

US Drones Used in Turkey Airstrikes; 5 Killed in Other Iraq Violence

US Drones Used in Turkey Airstrikes; 5 Killed in Other Iraq Violence

U.S. Drones mistook civilians for rebels at the border between Turkey and Iraq. The subsequent attack, which may have taken place inside Iraqi territory left 35 Turkish Kurds dead and wounded 15 more who were apparently smuggling fuel. Meanwhile, at least five Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded.

In what is the largest civilian death count in Turkey’s history fighting Kurdish rebels, 35 civilians have been killed in an air strike at an Iraq border point. U.S. drones, which had been relocated from Iraq, had detected the group earlier and mistook them for rebels.

Although many of the victims may have been diesel smugglers, they were not working for the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) rebels. Over a dozen of those killed were reportedly teenagers, and some were the sons of village guards. Most of the survivors were said to be wounded, but only one injury was officially reported. Witness put the number of injured at fifteen.

Kurdish officials in Turkey claimed they had warned the military of the smuggler’s presence but were ignored. Meanwhile, protests in Istanbul condemning the air strike were met with water cannons and tear gas. No injuries were reported, but several people were arrested.

In recent days, Iraqi Kurdish officials had complained Turkey was still conducting air strikes, as they have since summer. Then as every summer, the Turkish military stepped up attacks against rebels who use remote northern Iraq for its hideouts. This year’s attacks, however, were more intense.

In political crisis news, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised to honor Anbar province’s set of requests concerning government power abuses. The province had put forward a number of demands that needed to be meet to keep them from seeking semi-autonomy status. Despite fears that the premier is creating a dictatorship, the United States is moving ahead with military sales to Iraq.

In Mosul, gunmen stormed a home where they killed an Interior Ministry official and his mother. A female police officer was wounded in a blast. An off-duty policeman was shot dead. Gunmen also killed a civilian.

A bomb killed a soldier and wounded another in Safra.

In Baghdad, two bombs exploded in the Adhamiya neighborhood and wounded six people.
A roadside bomb wounded five people in Baquba.

Four people were wounded in an attack on a school principal’s home in Suleimaniya.
In Balad, a sticky bomb wounded a police officer.

A sticky bomb at the Kirkuk home of a passport official left no casualties. Another bombing took place at the home of a court official.

A Kurdish kidnap victim was released in Rashad after a ransom was paid.

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