The Latest: Iraq criticizes plan for Kurd independence vote

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MOSUL, Iraq (AP) – The Latest on developments concerning Iraq (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

The Iraqi government is criticizing the announcement by the Kurdish autonomous government that it will hold a referendum on independence in September.

This week, Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, announced plans for a referendum on Sept. 25 on whether to secede from Iraq. The vote would be held in three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments.

In Baghdad’s first comment on the Kurdish move, government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said Friday the Kurds cannot take such a move alone.

Al-Hadithi says: “All Iraqis must have a say in defining the future of their nation. No single party can determine the future of Iraq in isolation from the other. Any decision on this issue must be taken in consultation with other parties and safeguard national consensus.”

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2:20 p.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says Iraqi Kurd plans to hold a referendum on independence is an “irresponsible” decision that will add to the region’s problems.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Yildirim reiterated Turkey’s support for Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Yildirim said: “There are sufficient problem areas in our region and we don’t think it is right to create new problem areas.”

Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region announced this week it would hold a referendum on independence on Sept. 25.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also criticized the move earlier, calling it a “grave mistake.”

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1:45 p.m.

Police and medical officials say a suicide attacker has blown himself up in a market south of the capital Baghdad killing at least 21 people.

The officials said the Friday morning blast in the village of Musayyib also wounded 30. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The blast came hours after a bomb exploded in the Shiite holy city of Karbala near Mussayyib wounding five people.

Explosions are common in Iraq and have killed hundreds of people this year alone.

The Islamic State group usually claims responsibility for such blasts.

By Bassem Mroue

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12:40 a.m.

Several rights organizations are warning that large numbers of civilians are being killed and injured in western Mosul because Iraqi and U.S.-backed coalition forces are relying on the use of heavy weapons.

The forces are working to push Islamic State group militants from the city.

Heavy ordnance, such as 500-pound (227-kilogram) air-delivered bombs, are causing excessive and disproportionate damage to civilian life and property, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law, organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Center for Civilians in Conflict warned.

Their report was released Thursday.

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11:25 a.m.

Turkey is criticizing Iraqi Kurdish officials’ decision to hold a referendum in Iraq’s autonomous northern region, calling it “a grave mistake.”

In a statement released Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Iraq’s territorial integrity was a “precondition” for lasting stability for the country and called on Iraqi Kurds to be part of efforts to strengthen Iraq’s unity.

This week, Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, announced plans for a referendum on Sept. 25 on whether to secede from Iraq. The vote would be held in three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments.

Turkey, which is battling a Kurdish insurgency on its territory, is strongly opposed to moves toward Kurdish independence.