ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A shootout occurred on Thursday evening after an armed group in the Kurdish city of Khanaqin in Diyala Province opened fire on civilians, with multiple casualties reported.
The shooting took place in Rizgari neighborhood in front of a barber shop, according to Kurdistan 24 Correspondent Harem Jaff.
Seven people were killed, and three more were injured, Jaff reported.
“So far, the identity of the armed group remains unknown, and the reason for the shooting is unclear,” Mohammed Mala Hassan, Mayor of Khanaqin, told Kurdistan 24 by phone.
“No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet,” Hassan said on Thursday, adding that police units were deployed to manage the security situation in the city.
Most of the victims were Shia Kurds, the Mayor revealed.
Radical groups over the past decade have repeatedly targeted Shia Kurds in the area. More than 200 people have been killed in similar incidents, according to unofficial statistics.
Khanaqin is a disputed territory located in the southeast of Kirkuk. Kurds make the majority of the city’s population which has been under the control of the Kurdish forces since 2003.
The region is currently under the control of Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia after the Oct. 16, 2017, military takeover.
Editing by Nadia Riva