Man injured in shooting inside Tuz Khurmatu headquarters of PUK

A member of the Rapid Response Forces in the center of Tuz Khurmatu district, 2018. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow

A person was injured during a shooting incident inside the building of the leading Kurdish parties.

The incident occurred afternoon of Thursday, August 10, when a person named Ziyad Muhammad Hussein entered the building of the Hamrin Organizations Center for the Patriotic Union Kurdistan PUK and entered into an altercation with Shukur Karim (Mulla Shukur), a member of the Iraqi parliament and Leadership Council of the PUK and in charge of that office, and a gunfire occurred as a result of which he was wounded, a source close to the incident told KirkukNow.

According to the source who preferred to stay anonymous, father of Ziyad, Muhammad Hussein, nicknamed (Muhammad Arif), was previously a member of PUK yet currently is establishing a regiment for the pro-Iran paramilitary of the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF known as Hashid Shabi, with a number of cadres and supporters of the PUK.

A source in the Patriotic Union’s Hamrin Organization Center told KirkukNow, “This person entered the organization center to distribute invitation cards, apparently related to the formation of the Popular Mobilization Regiment. He had a verbal fight with Mulla Shukur and tried to shoot him but his bodyguards and office guards interfered and that man was wounded."

Another source in the Hamrin Center said, "We do not know why this young man came to the center, but he argued with Mulla Shukur and wanted to shoot him, so Mulla Shukur's guards shot and wounded him."

Aras Jamal, Deputy Director General of Tuz Khurmatu Healthcare, told KirkukNow, “Ziyad Muhammad was brought to the hospital after receiving a bullet hit his stomach. His health did not improve, and his family immediately transferred him to a hospital in Kirkuk.”

The multi-ethnic district of Duz Khurmatu, located 70 kilometers south of Kirkuk and part of Salahaddin province, is the only disputed town of the province and one of the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad, home to 150,000 Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs.

The predominantly Sunni province of Salahaddin, about 135 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, once home for Saddam Hussein, is under the control of Iraqi Security Forces ISF including the Shia-led paramilitary forces known as al-Hashid al-Shabi, the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Kurdish political parties, in particular the Puk had an upper hand in the area up to October 16, 2017 when the Iraqi security Forces ISF with support of PMF took control of Tuz and the rest of the disputed territories which extends from Khanaqin, east of Baghdad on the borders with Iran up to Shingal (Sinjar) in Nineveh Province, in the far west on the borders with Syria.

Karim's media office, said in a brief statement about the incident, "We reassure our dear citizens that Mullah Karim Salem survived the attempt to assassinate him inside the Hamrin Organizations Center."

The family of Ziyad deny PUK’s story of the incident, arguing he was let in by the guards.

Muhammad Hussein, the father of the injured young man and a number of his relatives previously worked within the organizations of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, but because of their disagreemtns with the party, especially the differences within the Hamrin Organizations Center in Tuz Khurmatu, they separated from the party and began a while ago seeking to form a regiment for the PMF in Tuz Khurmatu district from the Kurds, some of whom worked previously for the PUK.

A source close to the regiment told KirkukNow, “The headquarters of the regiment, which is supervised by Muhammad Hussein and receives support from the Badr Organization, was scheduled to open tomorrow, Friday, August 11.”

KirkukNow report in 2019 indicated 200 houses and 100 shops and stores in the predominantly-Kurdish Komari (Republican) neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu district were burned or looted, and 50 houses belonging to Kurdish officials, Peshmerga affiliates and volunteers were blown up as a result of the clashes between the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in the midst of the events of October 16, 2017.

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