A wounded man is brought to a hospital in Kirkuk after Tuesday's raid.
EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
By Matt Bradley and Ali A. Nabhan Updated April 23, 2013 6:43 pm ET
BAGHDAD—Iraq's security forces killed 38 people in clashes with mostly Sunni demonstrators and antigovernment insurgents in the northern city of al-Hawijah, as a raid on a protest camp transformed months of sectarian tensions into an armed conflict.
The clashes, on top of recent attacks on Shiite civilians by Sunni-aligned militants, risk fueling an outbreak of violence that has echoes in sectarian conflicts across the region.
Antiriot forces raided the al-Hawijah protest camp in Kirkuk province early Tuesday after protesters refused to hand over militants suspected in the killing of an Iraqi soldier several days earlier. Security forces, battling protesters with guns, killed 25 people, arrested 75 and recovered a large cache of weapons, according to the Ministry of Defense. Three soldiers were killed.
Sunni militants in Iraq's western provinces, responding to the raid, seized police checkpoints in Riyadh and Rashad for several hours, until military reinforcements launched counterattacks, killing 13 gunmen, according to Iraqi security officials.
Soldiers cut road access to Kirkuk—long a flash point for Iraq's ethnic and religious tensions—on top of a curfew in regions to the south and west.