IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — A Danish national was killed by a roadside bomb while cycling in northern Iraq, the country’s local Kurdish authorities said Friday, blaming Turkish Kurdish insurgents for planting the device.
According to a statement from police in the Dohuk region, Torbjorn Methmann died in an explosion on Thursday. Police said Methmann and his companion, William Karlsson, also a Danish national, were cycling in the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdish region when Methmann’s bicycle struck the roadside bomb.
The pair were en route to the town of Amedi, a popular tourist attraction in the area known for its archeological sites. The statement also said the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, an insurgent group in neighboring Turkey, was behind the bombing.
Iraqi Kurdish officials could not be reached for comment and the statement provided no evidence to back that claim. Iraq is strewn with land mines and unexploded ordnance left over from years of conflict.
Authorities in Denmark confirmed that a Danish citizen had died in northern Iraq but did not say more.
Cycling tours are not very common in the area, due to unpaved roads and faulty infrastructure.
Iraqi authorities have been trying to open up the country to tourism in recent years and the federal government in Baghdad offers visas to tourists upon arrival. The Kurdish-run north, considered safer and more stable than the rest of Iraq, typically hosts more tourists.
The PKK, a militant group waging an insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s, has safe havens in northern Iraq and even controls some areas of Dohuk province near the Turkish border. Ankara routinely bombs these positions and criticizes the Iraqi Kurdish government, accusing it of not doing more to root out PKK from its territory.
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