Baghdad, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- Supporters of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces militia on Saturday torched the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Baghdad after one of its leaders blamed the movement for attacking Erbil’s airport.
Dozens of the movement’s supporters stormed into the KDP’s fifth headquarters in central Baghdad and set fire to the building with no casualties reported, a Baghdad police source told Efe on condition of anonymity.
Witness Saad Mazhar said the protesters hoisted the movement’s flag and carried photos of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani and the movement’s late vice president Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, who were killed by a US strike earlier this year.
The security forces, heavily present at the scene, did not prevent the protesters from replacing the Kurdish flag with the movement’s.
The attack came after Hoshyar Zebari, leader of the KDP and Iraqi former foreign minister, accused the Shiite militia of launching rockets on Erbil International Airport on 30 September.
“The reason they attack Erbil is because the armed Shiite Militias consider the region to be close to the United States and include US bases, and these factions are like the Islamic State group. Just as IS attacked Baghdad and then Erbil, these factions did the same,” he said.
Following the attack, the movement rejected the use of violence and sabotage.
“We call for preserving the name of the State, social peace and respect for the security forces at this critical time,” it said.
Nechirvan Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, condemned the attack.
“Attacking the headquarters of a party that was one of the main forces that contributed to bringing down the dictatorship in Iraq is thus an attack on the common history of struggle of the Kurds and the Iraqi revolutionary forces to eliminate injustice and dictatorship,” he said in a statement.
“It also attacks peaceful coexistence and undermines societal and political peace, and is inconsistent with the principles of the constitution, democracy and human rights,” he added. EFE-EPA