Baghdad/United Nations : Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accused the northern autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday of hosting jihadists spearheading an offensive that has overrun swathes of territory and sparked Iraq’s worst crisis in years, reports AFP.
“Honestly, we cannot be silent over this and we cannot be silent over Arbil being a headquarters for Daash, and Baath, and Al-Qaeda and terrorist operations,” Maliki said in his weekly televised address. Daash is the former Arabic acronym for the Islamic State jihadist group, while Baath refers to the banned party of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
“We cannot be silent over a movement that exploited the circumstances and expanded,” said Maliki, infuriated by a Kurdish announcement last week that plans were being sped up to hold a referendum on self-determination. Kurdish forces moved into disputed territories on the edge of their autonomous region, in particular taking control of the oil city of Kirkuk, when a jihadist-led alliance of militants swept through north-western Iraq last month.
The highly effective peshmerga fighters were in some areas the only rampart against the jihadists but Iraqi Kurdish president Massud Barzani has since vowed they would never leave again.
Terrorists seize chem arms
Iraq has informed the United Nations that the Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad where 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents, reports AP. Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated that “terrorist” groups entered the Muthanna site June 11 and seized weapons and equipment from the facility.