Talabani Funeral Turns Controversial; 16 Killed in Iraq

The body of former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was flown to Sulaimaniya for burial on Friday. The plane was given an exemption to fly directly into Kurdistan despite flight sanctions resulting from the Kurdish independence referendum held last week. Although a Kurd, Talabani served as president of Iraq from 2005 until a stroke forced him to resign in 2014. The 83-year-old died on Tuesday in Germany. Thousands of mourners paid their last respects.

The funeral was not without controversy however. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi failed to participate, making Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif the highest-ranking official to attend. Also, the casket was draped in the Kurdish flag not the Iraqi one, causing several politicians to leave the service in protest. One network interrupted its broadcast of the funeral due to the flag choice. In a nod to his Talabani’s role as president however, the Iraqi national anthem, “Mawtini,” was performed.

At least 16 people were killed:

A policeman was shot dead in Baquba.

In Hawija, at least a dozen militants were killed in security operations.

Two suicide bombers were killed in Ramadi.

An airstrike killed a militant in Diyala province.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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