(BAGHDAD) — The Iraqi government has come under sharp criticism from the Sunni minority after a military strike on a protest encampment in the north Tuesday reportedly left at least 33 civilians dead and over 100 people wounded.
Iraqi security forces said they attacked the camp to look for gunmen responsible for an assault on a checkpoint last week.
According to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, 20 gunmen were shot dead during Tuesday’s strike in the town of Hawija near Kirkuk while 75 other suspects were taken into custody.
Three Iraqi soldiers died and nine were wounded in the operation that Sunnis allege was a “massacre.”
Already enraged with the Shiite-led central government that they contend has marginalized them, tribesmen in Sunni-dominated Anbar and Salahuddin provinces are vowing to take up arms again.
Meanwhile, more large protests by Sunnis are planned in Mosul and Fallujah, while in Baghdad, Sunni lawmakers said they would suspend their participation in parliament to protest the military strike in Hawija.
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Euan McKirdy, Bryony Jones and Barry Neild, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN
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Angela Dewan, CNN