Iraqi forces to leave Kurdish town

Other News Materials 4 September 2008 21:46 (UTC +04:00)

Iraqi forces withdrew from the Kurdish town of Khanaqin after am agreement between the parties in Iraq's ruling coalition, the Kurdish Democratic Party said Thursday, reported dpa.

Kurdish fighters will re-assume control of the area and Iraqi forces will not be allowed in without the prior approval of Kurdish local authorities, Kurdish officials said.

Iraqi forces entered Khanaqin in July during a military operation in Diyala province, 57 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. The move was designed to clear the area off insurgents and armed groups.

Although it lies outside the Kurdish autonomy region, Khanaqin in inhabited mainly by Kurds.

A week ago, after the deployment of Iraqi forces and subsequent withdrawal of Kurdish fighters, thousands of Khanaqin residents took to the streets in protest.

Iraqi forces started to leave on Wednesday evening and the full withdrawal is expected to be completed in two days, a Kurdish spokesman said.