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Iraq MPs sack Kirkuk governor over Kurd independence vote

15 September 2017

Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Kareem said he had no intention of following Baghdad's dismissal order, issued at the behest of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Israel supports the establishment of a Kurdish state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, as Kurds in Iraq gear up for a referendum on independence that lawmakers in Baghdad oppose.

There are fears a highly public vote for independence could detract attention from the war against Islamic State and stir up hostilities between the Iraqi government and Kurdish separatists.

Turkey has the region's largest Kurdish population and fears a "Yes" vote could fuel separatism in its southeast where Kurdish militants have waged an insurgency for three decades in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Turkey urges the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government to abandon the referendum that could result in tensions in the region.

This is not the first time Netanyahu has voiced support for an independent Kurdish state - he backed the Kurds' "aspirations for independence" in a speech in 2014.

The people of KRG, especially Kirkuk, will not be bound by the parliament's decision, a presidential statement said, adding the Kirkuk governor was elected to office and approved by the provincial council.

Terror attacks take 50 lives in Southern Iraq, many more wounded
Jassem al-Khalidi, a senior health official, told the TV channel that more than 87 people had sustained injuries in the attacks. The governor of Iraq's southern Thi Qar province, where Nassiriya is located, said the death toll was 45.

Thursday's decision to remove Najm Eddine Karim followed parliamentarians' rejection of Kurdish plans to hold an independence referendum on Tuesday.

'Barzani's referendum decision is a historic mistake.

Kirkuk Now, a media outlet close to the PUK, reported on Thursday that the PUK office in Kirkuk voted to exclude Kirkuk from the Kurdish referendum. He refused to give details.

"I don't even know what the accusations are against me", Kareem told Reuters.

"This referendum is ill-timed and ill-advised, it is not something we can support", he said, regarding the US' backing for the Sep.

Kurdistan Region's High Committee of Referendum announced earlier that the poll will be held on Sept 25.

Iraq MPs sack Kirkuk governor over Kurd independence vote