Baku-APA. Five minutes of silence were held throughout the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq on Monday, in memory of thousands killed during the Halabja Massacre 27 years ago, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency .
Memorial ceremonies were organized in Halabja, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok and Kirkuk and areas governed by the Kurdish Regional Government.
Erbil Governor Nevzat Hadi said that thousands of people had been killed 27 years ago with chemical weapons on the command of Saddam Hussein.
Until a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam in 2003, his ruling Baath Party had maintained a tight grip on the country for more than three decades.
"Today, the Kurdistan region is still under attack as 27 years ago but our peshmerga [militiamen] have the power to resist these attacks," Hadi said.
Kirkuk Governor Necmeddin Kerim said that "Halabja martyrs will not be forgotten."
Five thousand people were killed and 7,000 injured when Iraq's then-president ordered a chemical attack on the city on March 16, 1988.
The Halabja Massacre was mounted by the then-Iraqi government in the northern town near the Iranian border during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War, through the use of chemical weapons.
Launched as part of Operation Anfal, the 1986–1989 campaign conducted by Saddam Hussein's regime was to terrorize the Kurdish rural population and end the peshmerga rebellions.
Iraq's High Criminal Court recognized the massacre as genocide on March 1, 2010.