Kirkuk buries Hawijah victims amid
apparent wave of revenge attacksProtesters call for resignation of Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki, rail against alleged targeting of their community by authorities.Deadliest sectarian unrest so farMiddle East Online KIRKUK (Iraq):
revenge attacks after clashes between protesters and Iraqi security forces
entered a second day on Wednesday, killing 12 people, while three more died in
other unrest, officials said.
The violence brings the toll since Tuesday to 84
dead, 66 of them in clashes and attacks involving security forces, protesters
and their supporters.
The unrest is the deadliest so far linked to
demonstrations in Sunni areas that erupted more than four months ago.
Protesters have called for the resignation of
Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and railed against the alleged targeting of
their community by the authorities.
In the deadliest incident on Wednesday, gunmen
killed five soldiers and wounded five more in the Sulaiman Bek area north of
Baghdad, a high-ranking army officer and an administrative official said.
Iraqi MP Ashwaq al-Jaf issued a statement saying
that dozens of people were wounded in air attacks by the Iraqi military in the
area, and the army officer confirmed that helicopters were used in the
In other violence that officers said was
apparently in revenge for clashes on Tuesday, gunmen attacked a Sahwa
anti-Al-Qaeda militia checkpoint in Khales northeast of Baghdad, killing four
militiamen and wounding a fifth, a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor
Gunmen also wounded a policeman in the northern
city of Mosul, while a soldier was wounded in another shooting to its south,
police and a doctor said. Three gunmen were also killed in the Mosul
Apparently unrelated violence in Tarmiyah, north
of Baghdad, and Fallujah, west of the capital, killed three more people and
wounded at least 10, officials said.
The trouble began early on Tuesday when clashes
broke out after security forces moved into an area near Hawijah in north Iraq,
where protests have been held since January.
The initial fighting killed 27 people, while a
series of revenge attacks left another 27 dead on Tuesday, and 15 more were
killed in apparently-unrelated unrest.
Two Sunni ministers quit in the wake of the
initial violence, bringing the number of Sunni cabinet members who have resigned
since March 1 to four.
On Wednesday, mourners buried dozens of people
killed the day before.
Hundreds of mourners walked on the main road past
the provincial council building in Kirkuk city alongside vehicles carrying 34
coffins, a journalist said.
They chanted "We sacrifice for you, Iraq" and "We
will take revenge for the martyrs of Hawijah," continuing on to Hawijah, to the
west of the city, where the dead were buried.
What happened was a massacre, and the situation
is catastrophic and dangerous, and we should work on easing the tension," said
deputy Kirkuk governor Rakan Said.
A protest organiser and a doctor also said on
Wednesday that two Iraqi soldiers who were kidnapped by demonstrators the day
before near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, have been released.
Protest organiser Abdulrazzaq al-Shammari said the
soldiers were handed over to a hospital in the city, and the doctor said one of
them who was wounded was still in hospital, while the other was released.
Shammari also said that the demonstrators were
demanding that soldiers withdraw from all cities in Anbar province, where Ramadi
is located, and stay in their main bases.