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Iraq's New Flag Raised in Kurdish Autonomous Region

Iraq's new flag has been raised in the country's autonomous Kurdish region for the first time.

Iraqi Kurdish authorities raised the new banner Sunday beside their regional flag at the parliament building in the northern city of Irbil.

Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani says the new flag raises hope for peace in Iraq and for a break with dictatorship.

Iraqi Kurds had refused to fly the old national flag, saying it reminded them of Saddam Hussein's military campaign against the Kurdish minority in the 1980s. That campaign killed tens of thousands of people.

The old Iraqi flag featured three green stars representing the motto of Saddam's Baath party: unity, freedom and socialism. The new banner does not show the stars, but still has red, white and black stripes with words "God is Greatest" written in green Arabic script.

Iraq's parliament in Baghdad began using the new flag last Tuesday. The modified design is meant to be valid only for one year, after which Iraqi lawmakers hope to choose a permanent replacement.

The flag of northern Iraq's Kurdish region is red, white and green with a golden sun in the center.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.