Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iraqi Kurds' Constitution Celebrations Claim 3 Lives; Attacks on US, Iraqi Forces Continue - 2004-03-09

Celebrations of the signing of the new Interim Constitution in Iraq turned deadly Tuesday when several people were killed by stray bullets. Meanwhile, Monday's signing of a interim constitution is winning praise from countries throughout the region including neighboring Kuwait.

At least three people were killed and more than 20 others were injured Tuesday when Kurds in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk fired bullets into the air to celebrate Monday's signing of Iraq's Interim Constitution.

Police said there were no clashes among the various ethnic factions in northern Iraq and that all of the deaths and injuries were accidental.

Farther north, in the city of Mosul, seven people including three Iraqi policemen were injured when a hand grenade was tossed in a building that houses a local governing council. Local police said the attack was apparently aimed at U.S. soldiers inside the building.

In another incident, one U.S. soldier was killed and another was injured Tuesday morning when a roadside bomb detonated north of Baghdad. The soldiers were driving in a four-vehicle convoy when the bomb exploded.

In the meantime, leaders in neighboring Kuwait Tuesday applauded the signing of Iraq's new interim constitution, calling it a constructive step that will lead to the restoration of security and stability throughout the region.

The document also won the approval of the Gulf Cooperation Council that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC issued a statement Tuesday saying the interim constitution will lead to the formation of an independent Iraqi government and the restoration of Iraq's sovereignty.

The Iraqi Interim Constitution recognizes the basic rights of all segments of Iraqi society. Islam is named the official religion of the state and one source of future legislation. The document also provides for continued Kurdish autonomy in the north and for a role for women in the new government. An Iraqi government is to take over from the coalition administration at the end of June, and plan national elections for late this year or early next year.

All 25 members of Iraq's interim governing council signed the new constitution, which will govern Iraq until a permanent constitution is completed sometime next year.

Monday's signing ceremony had been delayed from last Friday over objections that the interim constitution could give the Kurdish north the power to veto a permanent constitution. However, the council members eventually agreed that any objections to the interim constitution could be debated once a national assembly is elected in 2005.