Angry Iraqis protest over resort attack

·2-min read

Hundreds of angry Iraqis have taken to the streets to decry deadly strikes on an Iraqi tourist resort that the government has blamed on Turkey.

The protests erupted on Thursday just hours after the families of those killed in the shelling buried their loved ones.

Turkey's foreign minister rejected accusations that his country's military carried out Wednesday's attack on the district of Zakho in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region.

At least eight Iraqis were killed, including a child, and 20 were wounded.

Turkey frequently carries out air strikes and attacks into northern Iraq and has sent commandos to support its offensives targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

The insurgents, who have for decades battled the government in Ankara, have bases in the mountainous Iraqi region.

Although civilians, mostly local villagers, have been killed in the past, Wednesday's attack marked the first time that tourists visiting the north from elsewhere in Iraq were killed.

Speaking with Turkish state broadcaster TRT, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was willing to co-operate with Iraqi authorities to shed light on the "treacherous attack".

The protests outside what was formerly the Turkish embassy in Baghdad started peacefully but later escalated.

Some in the crowd carried signs that read: "Turkey's attacks on civilians is a crime against humanity."

Others threw stones at the riot police and burned tyres. At one point, clashes erupted when some demonstrators tried to storm in to replace the Turkish flag that was still flying over the building with an Iraqi one.

Several protesters were hurt when the police threw back some of the stones hurled at them. The embassy, which had relocated to the heavily fortified Green Zone last year, cancelled visa appointments for the day, cancelled visa appointments for the day.

Earlier on Thursday, Iraq's government summoned Turkey's ambassador in protest and bodies of victims were flown from the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run northern region to Baghdad for burial.

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