Iraq sets deadline for Kurds to quit Turkey border post

A member of the Iraqi forces carries an Iraqi flag as his comrades stand next to mortars aimed against Kurdish Peshmerga positions near the area of Faysh Khabur, located on the Turkish and Syrian borders in the Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region. (AFP)
Updated 27 October 2017
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Iraq sets deadline for Kurds to quit Turkey border post

BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces set a tight deadline Friday for Kurdish fighters to withdraw from an area on the Turkish border that is critical for oil exports, a government source told AFP.
The senior security source, asking not to be named, said Kurdish peshmerga fighters were being given “a few hours” to pull out of the area around the Fishkhabur border post.
Clashes between the two sides had ceased “with only occasional exchanges of fire,” said the source.
Iraqi forces on Thursday mounted a new assault on Kurdish fighters in the disputed oil-rich Zummar area of Nineveh province, triggering heavy artillery exchanges.
In an advance over dusty terrain with armored vehicles, government forces recaptured villages close to the route of a strategic oil export pipeline linking the Kirkuk fields retaken from the Kurds earlier this month with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
The Kurds shut down the pipeline during the 2014 sweep through northern and western Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group and built their own pipeline further north.
The Fishkhabur region, at the extreme edge of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and where the Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian borders converge, is of strategic importance to both Baghdad and the Kurds of northern Iraq.
The Kurds have been defending the Zummar and Rabiya areas of Fishkhabur because they are used by Kurdish forces battling IS in Syria to smuggle out fuel products by tanker trucks to Turkey, according to the Iraqi source.
The UN Security Council on Thursday urged Iraq’s government and Kurdish leaders to set a timetable for talks on ending their conflict triggered by a September 25 independence referendum held by the Kurds in defiance of Baghdad.


Gaza teen dies of border protest wounds

Updated 30 min 31 sec ago
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Gaza teen dies of border protest wounds

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A Palestinian shot by Israeli forces last month during protests on the Gaza border died of his wounds Monday, the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory said.
“Mohammed Ghassan Abu Daqqa died ... on Wednesday evening from his wounds, after he was shot by the Israeli occupation east of Khan Yunis on May 14,” it said in a statement, which did not give his age.
At least 33 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since mass protests broke out along the Gaza border on March 30.
No Israelis have been killed.
The protests peaked on May 14 when at least 62 Palestinians were killed as thousands approached the heavily guarded border fence on the same day the United States moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. It accuses Gaza’s rulers Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks.