Gunmen detonate Kaka’i shrine used to light Newroz flame, south of Kirkuk
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Unidentified gunmen blew up a religious shrine belonging to the Kaka’i community in a town south of Kirkuk city, a security source told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
The source revealed that an unknown group of armed assailants detonated explosive devices at the Say-yed Ribar shrine in the town of Daquq, causing great damage to the monument.
The Kaka’i faith used to light the Newroz flame on the shrine to celebrate and welcome the arrival of the Kurdish new year.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Reports of discrimination against the Kurdish population in Kirkuk Province have increased in recent days, with footage circulating on social media showing Iraqi security forces opening fire to disperse crowds celebrating Newroz.
The shrine is located in the village of Zanqar, an area on the outskirts of Daquq, which has been the scene of attacks launched by the Islamic State (IS) against the civilian population over the past few years.
During the extremist group’s three-year reign in northern Iraq, villages populated by the Kaka’i were scattered along the front lines between the areas controlled by the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces and IS.
After the military defeat of IS, Iraqi forces, with the help of Iranian-backed Shia militias, seized control of the areas last October, forcing the Peshmerga to withdraw.
The Kaka’i, as they are known in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, are also called the Yarsan or Ahl-e Haqq (“People of Truth”) in Iran.
The syncretic religion was embraced by a large number of Kurds in parts of northern Iraq and the Kurdish provinces in western Iran before the spread of Islam in the Middle East and North Africa.