Turkey warns Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum "will pay the price"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Kurdish minority in Iraq controls three Iraqi provinces, which enjoy a high degree of autonomy, having a regional government and their own security institutions.

The Kurdish presidency said the autonomous region's political leaders would study the proposal, without giving details.

"While Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own", a statement from Israeli prime minister's office said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later urged the KRG to cancel the referendum.

Iraqi Kurdistan has effectively been a semi-autonomous state since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago, but support for full independence has always been opposed by Turkey, Iran and Syria, who fear it could fan separatist uprisings among their own ethnic Kurds.

Mahmoud al-Hassan, a Shiite Iraqi lawmaker, said it was no surprise that Israel would back the Kurds.

The controversial referendum on Kurdish regional independence slated for 25 September will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state.

Russian submarines fire seven cruise missiles at Isis militants
Meanwhile, a Kurdish-led offensive, backed by the US-led coalition, is underway in the northern part of the province. Philippine government forces have been trying to remove IS-linked militants from the city since May.

Kareem is a vocal supporter of the referendum and campaigned for the vote also to be held in Kirkuk.

But the ethnically mixed city also has Arab and Turkmen populations.

The Kurdish area of northern Iraq has enjoyed broad autonomy since the first Gulf War in 1991.

"Of course Israel supports the division of Iraq and will be happy with tearing down Iraq".

"He is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk", said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

"The escalating tactics this week by the Iraqis are causing a large public backlash, and will strengthen the Kurdish referendum enormously", Zebari said.

The Iraqi parliament on Thursday voted with majority to remove the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk province from his post, the Iraqi official television reported.

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