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Wednesday, April 27, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Two Kurdish officers killed by Iraqi soldiers in disputed oil capital

BAGHDAD — The Iraq Army and Kurdish forces engaged in a violent clash in the northern city of Kirkuk on April 25.


Military sources said at least two Kurdish officers were killed in a gun battle with Iraq Army soldiers in Kirkuk, Middle East Newsline reported. The shootout on April 25 marked the first lethal clash between Kurds and the Iraq Army in 2011.

"We have arrested four Iraqi soldiers and started an investigation to find out what happened and who is responsible," Kirkuk police chief Maj. Gen. Jamal Taher Bakr said.

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The confrontation erupted amid U.S.-led efforts to foster cooperation between the Iraq Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk, the oil capital of northern Iraq. In 2010, the U.S. military oversaw joint patrols and checkpoints around the city.

Both the Baghdad government and the autonomous Kurdish province have claimed Kirkuk. Officials said the clash erupted when an Iraq Army patrol was stopped by a Kurdish plainclothes officer near the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Under the 2010 agreement, police were responsible for security in Kirkuk. Officials said officers of the Kurds, Iraq Army and U.S. military were reviewing the clash.

"This cannot be considered a battle between the Iraq Army and security forces in Kirkuk," Iraq Army 12th Division commander Gen. Samir Abdul Karim said.

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