ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security forces killed a Kurdish woman and wounded three more civilians on Wednesday night in what appears to be a panicked response to a grenade attack on soldiers in Kirkuk.
The casualties came as a result “of random and unjustified shootings by members of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Forces,” said Rebwar Taha, the head of Kirkuk's branch of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) at a press conference in the city on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Nawzad Sattar, chief of the Rahimawa neighborhood police station, said to the media on Thursday that the woman, aged 65, was killed the previous night at 9:00 pm local time after passengers in "an unknown car" threw a grenade at soldiers in a military vehicle.
Two members of the security forces were injured in the attack, he told Kirkuk Now, adding that the suspects had not been apprehended.
Taha, in his press conference, claimed a pattern was emerging, stating that it was “the second incident of this sort in the past month."
The first, he explained, followed shortly after the announcement of official results from the May 12 national election. According to Taha, Counter-Terrorism Forces "deliberately" fired multiple rounds into a vehicle, killing the Kurdish driver instantly.
This claim could not immediately be independently verified.
Taha demanded that the Iraqi government and armed forces “form a committee to investigate the two incidents and punish those involved so that justice is served.”
In the past week alone, Kirkuk Province has seen at least 16 instances of violent attacks, including bombings, shootings, and various other security incidents.
At the start of June, six were wounded or killed in two separate attacks using roadside bombs. Elsewhere in the ethnically-diverse province, Islamic State (IS) militants killed two and wounded ten other members of Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militias.
According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in May, Kirkuk ranked as the second highest rate of violence and deaths in the country, with nine killed and 15 wounded, not counting casualties sustained by members of the police and security forces.
Editing by John J. Catherine