Iraqi leader threatens to ‘intervene militarily’ if Kurdish independence referendum turns violent

Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, has said he is prepared to use military force if the Kurdish region’s planned independence referendum results in violence.

Mr Abadi made the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press, saying he would resort to force if necessary to “protect our population”.

“If they are threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily,” he said.

He repeated his call for the Kurdish authorities to cancel the referendum, saying they were “playing with fire” and risked inviting other countries to violate Iraqi borders and its constitution.