Yezidi official claims no evidence Turkey behind Sinjar explosion

"When the people of Shingal decided to return to their homes, many schemes were implemented, and last [Sunday's] explosion was one of them, to intimidate the people."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi official from Iraq's Nineveh province said on Monday that there was no evidence that Turkey was behind a bombing that took place Sunday night in Sinjar (Shingal).

The incident occurred near the Sharaf al-Din shrine in the Yezidi-majority Shingal district, Nineveh province, where an occupied vehicle blew up.

While there were conflicting reports about its nature, Iraqi authorities said that a Turkish drone carried out the attack and targeted three members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) inside the car.

Mahma Khalil, the mayor of Shingal, claimed that the explosion was a "scenario" that was most likely carried out by an "illegal" party to intimidate displaced peoples and prevent them from returning to their homes.

Khalil told Kurdistan 24 that the security situation in Shingal is "terrible," noting that there are "schemes" to discourage the return of Yezidi (Ezidi) internally displaced persons to their homes.

He did not explain who was behind such moves.

"When the people of Shingal decided to return to their homes, many schemes were implemented, and last night's explosion was one of them, to intimidate the people," added Khalil.

The official also asserted that military experts have ruled out claims that a drone targeted the vehicle.

He accused "external and illegal forces" of involvement in the bombing and "destabilizing" the region. Various militia groups, including one backed by the Iraqi Shia militia conglomerate known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), operate in the area. There is also one group allegedly affiliated to the PKK.

"We are working hard to evacuate Shingal from the Hashd al-Shaabi and the forces that entered after the events of October 16," referring to the 2017 attack by Iraqi forces and the PMF on territories disputed between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Khalil said that the local administration "asked the Nineveh provincial government and the Iraqi forces to investigate the incident and announce the results."

"If Turkey carried out the attack, it would have claimed responsibility for targeting the PKK militants, that is why we believe that an illegal force carried out the bombing, but we are awaiting the results of the investigation."

Turkey has not commented on the incident but has carried out such attacks in the past, primarily targeted suspected PKK positions.

Kurdish officials have previously stated that the presence of the PKK in Shingal impedes reconstruction and stabilization.

Editing by Khrush Najari