ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – One person was killed and three wounded in a protest against Iraqi forces in Khanaqin city.
A group of about 150 to 200 unarmed youth carrying Kurdistan flags were protesting, demanding Iraqi forces leave the city, Col. Azad Isa, Khanaqin’s police chief, told Rudaw English.
Locals had told Rudaw by phone that Hashd al-Shaabi opened fire on the protesters, killing a man named Mohammed Ali and injuring a number of others.
Isa confirmed that one person was killed and three were wounded.
According to Isa, the Hashd al-Shaabi have largely withdrawn from the city and only a few remain. The Iraqi army and Diyala police are still in the city, he said.
He said the situation in Khanaqin remained unstable.
The protesters were angry about “provocative acts” of the Iraqi forces.
"We will expel them from our city no matter what because they tarnished our dignity by offending our flag and with their provocative acts," a protester told Rudaw TV by phone.
On Tuesday, Iraqi forces, including the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi, took control of Khanaqin, a predominantly Kurdish city in Diyala province on the Iranian border. It was under Kurdish control since 2003.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered the Hashd to withdraw from Kirkuk city. It is unknown if this order extends to other disputed areas.
A civil society activist, who said he witnessed "atrocities" in a Kurdish neighborhood of Kirkuk, said that Shiite militiamen of the Hashd al-Shaabi "stormed, looted, burned, and killed people."
Salah B. Rahman, general director of the Tawa Organization for Civil Development, told Rudaw English that "humanitarian conditions at this moment are very miserable for Kurds inside Kirkuk."
"Their main target is Kurds," he said.
He named a number of groups under Hashd al-Shaabi as responsible, such as: Hezbollah regiments, Saraya al-Khorasani, and Asaib ahl-Haq.
He urged the UN to take a stance on the situation.
Regarding events in Kirkuk and Khurmatu, Abadi claimed that, “not even a single incident... except in Tuz [Khurmatu],” happened and it “did not lead to confrontations.”