Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Peshmerga doctor is first Czech citizen to die in fighting IS

ČTK |
1 June 2016

Prague, May 31 (CTK) - Rizgar Rashid, a Kurdish officer with Czech citizenship who studied medicine in Czechoslovakia and joined the Peshmerga units fighting Islamic State in Iraq, died in a recent offensive near the city of Mosul being the first Czech victim of the anti-IS struggle, server reflex.cz has reported.

Rashid, 58, died in a terrorist's suicide attack, the server wrote.

"A Kurdish doctor, a general with Czech citizenship, was killed near Mosul in the morning on May 29," daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) quotes Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova as saying.

She said Rashid fled from the persecution of Kurds by the Iraqi Saddam Hussein regime to Czechoslovakia in 1988. He studied medicine at the university in Olomouc, north Moravia.

Rashid got married in Czechoslovakia, but the further fate of his family is unclear. He worked as a general practitioner for some time, MfD writes.

According to unconfirmed information, Rashid left for Kurdistan as early as the 1990s, probably after the Iraqi Kurdistan became de facto independent of Baghdad following the first Gulf War, when it was protected against the Hussein regime by a no-fly zone guarded by the U.S. and British air forces, MfD writes.

Lagronova said the dead officer was the commander of a medical unit that was helping the Kurds wounded during the Peshmerga offensive aimed to reconquer Mosul that has been controlled by IS terrorists since 2014.

The officer cooperated with the Czech general consulate in Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdistan centre, and was one of the military doctors who proposed a system of field hospitals in Mosul's surroundings, Lagronova said.

MfD writes that Kurdish media referred to the death of a high-ranking officer on Sunday but they did not identify the man.

They wrote the officer died after entering a village near Mosul, from where the Kurds previously chased IS militants. However, the terrorists left behind a number of explosives, and a suicide assailant who shot the officer dead and wounded his bodyguard.

After the Kurds opened fire, the attacker blew himself up, MfD writes, citing the Kurdish server Rudaw.net.

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