Iraq cancels Turkish defense minister’s visit over deadly drone strike

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Condemning
Condemning "blatant Turkish drone attack" in the autonomous Kurdish region, Baghdad canceled the Turkish defense minister's visit to the country which was scheduled for Thursday. — Courtesy photo

BAGHDAD — Iraq has reacted angrily after a Turkish drone killed two of its high-ranking officers in northern Iraq on Tuesday.

Condemning "blatant Turkish drone attack" in the autonomous Kurdish region, Baghdad canceled the Turkish defense minister's visit to the country which was scheduled for Thursday.

The cancellation of the scheduled visit was announced by Iraq's foreign ministry in a statement.

The ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand him "a strong protest note and inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country's attacks and violations”.

Earlier, a Turkish drone strike on Tuesday in the Sidakan area in northeastern Iraq, near the Turkish and Iranian borders, killed two members of Iraq's border guard and the driver of the vehicle they were in, the Iraqi military said.

Ihsan Chalabi, the mayor of nearby Sidakan in the north of Arbil province, told AFP that the drone strike in the Pradost region targeted "Iraqi border guard commanders while they were in meetings with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters".

Witnesses had reported clashes earlier in the day between PKK and Iraqi forces, and local sources said the drone strike targeted an emergency meeting called to try to calm the tension.

The Iraqi presidency earlier denounced "a dangerous violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and called on Ankara to "stop all its military operations" in the region.

At least five civilians have been killed since the start of the Turkish campaign.

Ankara has announced the death of two of its soldiers, and the PKK and its allies have reported the deaths of 10 fighters and supporters. — Agencies


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