On the afternoon of 20 July, Iraq was shaken by news from the village of Parakhe, in the picturesque northwest of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Earlier that day, several buses of tourists had arrived in the Kurdish village from the southern Iraqi cities. They were primarily Arab tourists visiting Kurdistan to escape the searing summer heat of the south. A popular tourist destination, Parakhe had seen over a hundred tourist buses visit in the preceding days.
Families and friends relaxed and had lunch in the shaded orchards and fields of Parakhe. Within hours, the idyllic afternoon was torn to pieces by several explosions. A nearby Turkish military base had begun bombarding the tourists with mortar fire. The result was the deadliest attack on civilians by the Turkish military in Iraqi Kurdistan. Nine people were killed and twenty-six injured, with victims ranging in age from a one-year-old to over 70-year-olds.
Like hundreds of villages in the mountainous border region, this is not the first time the inhabitants have experienced bombardments by the Turkish military. CPT first connected with Parakhe in June this year after two local men were wounded by Turkish artillery fire while tending to their fields. One of their relatives spoke to CPT on the afternoon of 20 July. From inside the hospital, he detailed the casualties and how locals frantically drove the injured and dying to receive medical aid.
We ask you to pray for the victims of the attack and their families. Pray that their pain is eased and that one day they receive proper acknowledgement and compensation from responsible governments.
Pray for the villages of Parakhe and the bombed and displaced villages of the Kurdistan mountains so they may return and enjoy their land safely. Pray for an end to the bombardment of civilians in Iraqi Kurdistan. Pray that the politicians find the strength to wage peace and stand up for the welfare of their people. Finally, pray for the hearts of those who occupy and destroy so that they may see how the destruction they sow damages the world and their humanity.