The Iraqi government on Saturday sent a delegation to investigate Friday’s attack on Sulaymaniyah airport in the north of the country’s Kurdistan Region, Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported.
The delegation included an Iraqi national security adviser, the head of the national public order unit, the head of the Iraqi anti-terror unit and the deputy head of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, the news agency said.
The visit came after the Baghdad government blamed Turkey for the explosion on Friday evening and demanded an official apology from Ankara.
The delegation met with Bafel Talabani, the leader of the Sulaymaniyah-based Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Talabani told the delegation that there was a huge responsibility on the Iraqi government to unravel the incident, and demanded that all findings of the investigation be shared transparently with the public, reported MA.
Sulaymaniyah’s governor Heval Ebubekir condemned Friday’s attack and called for a thorough investigation.
“Sulaymaniyah International Airport is a civilian institution. We hope that such an incident will not be repeated. We are continuing our meetings with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government on the need for a detailed investigation,” the governor said.
The explosion at Sulaymaniyah airport took place days after Ankara announced that it has closed its airspace to aircrafts travelling to and from Sulaymaniyah due to what it claimed was intensified activity in the area by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the area.
The KRG, which is controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), pointed the finger at the KDP’s rival PUK following the incident.
“The behaviour of an authoritarian party regime in Sulaymaniyah led to the closure of Turkish airspace towards Sulaymaniyah International Airport and then this attack,” said KRG spokesperson Jotiar Adil in a statement.
All eyes turned to Turkey following the incident, as Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was in Sulaymaniyah at the time of the explosion. Abdi also blamed Ankara for the attack on the airport in an interview with North Press Agency on Saturday.
In an e-mail to the Wall Street Journal, US Central Command stated that there had been a strike on a convoy including US military personnel.
Abdi told North Press that in Sulaymaniyah they had joint operations rooms with the counter-terrorism agencies of the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), adding that this was with the knowledge of the US-led global coalition fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS).