Iraqi Kurds blast Hezbollah chief Nasrallah over IS comments
The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has reacted furiously to remarks by Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, regarding Kurdish militias' battles with the Islamic State group (IS).
On Sunday, Nasrallah said in a speech that former Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani panicked when IS gained control of north-central Iraq in 2014 and called on Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander who was killed by a US airstrike on 3 January, to save the Kurdish capital Erbil.
Nasrallah added that the Kurds must "return [Soleimani’s] favour" by supporting efforts to expel the US from Iraq and the region.
In a fierce and outraged response, KRG spokesman Jutyar Adel called the Hezbollah leader a "coward", telling him.
"We're surprised by your petty-minded and childish attack on the Kurdistan region and the leader of a nation," he said.
"You, who haven't seen the sunlight for years because you're hiding in cellars are insulting and humiliating a heroic people," he said.
Adel added that it was the Kurdish Peshmerga forces who "defended Erbil and Kurdistan, and no one else", also saying that the Peshmerga had defended the Iraqi Kurdish region from militias loyal to Soleimani during the 2017 Battle of Kirkuk.
The Iraqi government captured the disputed city of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces at the end of this five-day battle.
"You don't dare to show your face because you're scared of your enemies. Why are you trying to provoke a people who you have no relationship with?" Adel's furious statement added.