Celebratory gunfire kills three in Sulaimani following election of Iraqi President

Three Kurdish citizens on Tuesday were killed in the province of Sulaimani by celebratory gunfire following the election of Barham Salih as the new President of Iraq.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three Kurdish citizens on Tuesday were killed in the province of Sulaimani by celebratory gunfire following the election of Barham Salih as the new President of Iraq.

After a majority vote on Tuesday evening, the Iraqi Parliament elected the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) candidate, Barham Salih, as the country’s new President.

A total of 219 lawmakers voted for Salih, while 22 lawmakers voted for Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidate Fuad Hussein, the main rival, whose withdrawal from the race had not been accepted by the parliamentary speaker over a missing signature.

Minutes after Salih was officially elected as President, celebratory and reckless gunfire erupted in the province of Sulaimani, a common habit in Iraq to express happiness despite warnings by officials and authorities of the risks.

One of the victims was in the city of Chamchamal. Farhad Mohammed Amin was born in 1971 and was injured by a stray bullet that hit his house but died before he could be transferred to a hospital, Deputy Head of Chamchamal Health Directorate, Ayoub Mohammed, said.

Two more residents in the center of Sulaimani were also killed after they were hit by stray bullets falling from the sky, including 18-year-old Adam Salam, who was playing football at one of the local stadiums when he was accidentally shot, sources from the Sulaimani Health Directorate told Kurdistan 24.

Local media also reported other people were struck and injured by celebratory gunfire in the city of Ranya.

Kurdish police forces in the Kurdistan Region have repeatedly warned and urged residents to avoid celebrating in this manner, but the phenomenon persists in Iraq, commonly occurring after major international football matches and during weddings.

Editing by Nadia Riva