RANIYAH, Iraq (AP) -- In the worst outbreak of violence since an April cease-fire, Kurds and Iraqis have clashed in three northern Iraqi cities, reports and witnesses said yesterday.
Four Kurds and two Iraqi officials of the ruling Baath Party were killed in one demonstration in Dohuk in which Kurds urged U.S. troops to stay in northern Iraq, Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported.
The violence took place outside the allied security zone, and U.S. troops did not intervene. Nor did United Nations forces.
Anatolia quoted U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John Shalikashvili, the commander of allied forces helping repatriate the Kurds, as saying: "We are very sorry about this, but we are not responsible for security in Dohuk."
Although Dohuk is outside the allied security zone, a small allied force is in the city to repair services for returning refugees.
Many Kurds believe Iraq will move against them when the allies leave northern Iraq. The allies established a security zone for Kurds who fled after their anti-government uprising failed and have not said when they will leave.
In Washington, a U.S. official said Americans would be talking with Kurdish leaders about the violent demonstrations. "We've made it quite clear that we're a temporary presence, but we're not going to turn these people over to the Iraqis," the official said. This was the reason why the United States pressed to have a U.N. police force in the area, he said. "I hope this is not going to continue to happen," the official said, but added, "We can't provide security for the entire country."
The latest violence occurred in the provincial capital of Dohuk, just outside the security zone. The four Kurds were killed Sunday evening during a demonstration outside offices of the ruling Baath party when shots were fired from inside the building, Anatolia news agency reported. The crowd then attacked the building with sticks and stones and killed two party officials, Anatolia said, quoting witnesses.
Last week, crowds of Kurdish men clashed with Iraqi security forces in Sulaimaniya and Erbil.