Dozens in Tal Afar Mass Grave; 143 Killed in Iraq

A civil war could erupt over contested city of Kirkuk if disputes concerning the Kurdish referendum go unresolved, according to Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi. He asked both Kurdish President Massoud Barzani and Shi’ite militia forces to show restraint. Peshmerga forces recaptured the city shortly after Islamic State militants claimed it in 2014. Allawi believes if Shi’ite forces take it upon themselves to try to take Kirkuk, it will destroy any chance for a unified Iraq.

Unfortunately, Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, said he wants to enter Kirkuk and other disputed areas. And Peshmerga forces say they have no intention of walking away from these areas that they believe to be historically Kurdish.

The Iraqi Parliament voted to declare Hawija a blight city, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on increasing the number of militia forces. Hawija is in Kirkuk province, not far from the city of Kirkuk.

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened to invade Parliament again if the current election committee has its mandate extended. Sadr believes the committee is corrupt in the service of the ruling parties.

In Mosul, the incredibly difficult and dangerous job of uncovering bodies from under the rubble is moving ahead very slowly as there are few workers who can do the job and say they are going unpaid.

At least 143 people were killed or found dead, and 10 were wounded:

Sixty bodies were found in a mass grave in Tal Afar.

In Hawija, the bodies of two pilots who were killed in a 2016 crash were found. Five militants were killed.

In Baghdad, a bomb killed one person and wounded two more. A civilian was gunned down. Five civilians were wounded in a bombing.

A woman was killed and a man was wounded during a mortar attack on Shirqat. At least two kidnappers were killed.

In Haditha, a university professor was gunned down.

Militants beheaded a tribal chief who was kidnapped from Qara Tapa. A clash left a militant dead and two wounded.

A Peshmerga fighter and two militants were killed in a clash near Kirkuk. The militants were posing as refugees from Hawija when they approached the Peshmerga lines and opened fire. Six militants were killed in a separate attack.

A mass grave containing the bodies of 20 militants was found near Rahaliyah.

Sixteen militants were killed in Mosul.

Security forces killed 11 militants in Hawi.

In Wadi al-Qathef, at least a dozen militants were killed in air strikes.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.