Iraqi Shiite forces at a training camp in southern Kirkuk. File photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Three Shiite militiamen were wounded in a skirmish with Iraqi federal police at a hospital in Kirkuk on Tuesday night after refusing to relinquish their weapons.
At around 23:00 local time, a group of Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen arrived at Komari hospital with seven comrades wounded in an earlier roadside bombing.
Federal police told the Hashd fighters they must give up their guns before entering the hospital. When they refused, a clash broke out.
“It was because when Hashd militants wanted some of their injured taken to the hospital, they wanted to enter with their arms, but the federal police didn’t allow them, thus leading to tensions and clashes,” Azad Jabbari, head of the security committee in the Kirkuk provincial council, told Rudaw.
Three Hashd militants were injured and the others arrested.
The earlier roadside bombing hit the Hashd convoy in the town of Rashad.
Around the same time, ISIS remnants operating in the province attacked a police station in the village of Mahmoud Abbas in Khanaqin, killing one police officer and injuring two more, according to Brig. Gen. Azad Issa, director of KRG’s Khanaqin police.
“When Peshmerga were in the Khanaqin area, such incidents happened once in a year, but in the past two months, Daesh has led 20 attacks in Khanaqin,” Issa added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Thousands of Hashd fighters and other Iraqi military formations have been deployed in Kirkuk since taking control of the disputed province from the Peshmerga on October 16, 2017.
Although the Hashd is an official part of Iraq’s defense apparatus, the Shiite militia is largely under the command of individuals close to Iran.
The Iraqi PM on Tuesday rejected rumors the US has asked him to officially dissolve the Hashd paramilitary forces.