Iraqi Kurdistan commemorates 25th anniversary of chemical gas attack

Iraqi Kurdistan recently held five minutes of silence to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bloody Friday, a chemical weapon attack in the town of Halabja in 1988 in the final days of Iraq's war with Iran.

On March 16, 1988, Iraqi warplanes shelled Halabja and released a lethal mixture of mustard gas and other nerve agents. Thousands were killed and injured during the attack by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, reports.

The chemical attack was one of the most devastating attacks by Hussein's regime, which used similar weapons throughout the eight-year war with Iran.

Earlier this month, Kurdistan's regional government announced revival projects for Halabja which totaled more than $150 million.

Victims' families have yet to be fully compensated for the attack: despite a 2007 Iraqi court ruling for compensation, Kurdistan's regional government said the laws do not cover such a massacre. The Kurdish government prepared its own draft law for compensation in return.

In a recent survey, approximately 60 percent of Kurdistan residents said the government kept very few of its promises on Halabja. More than 50 percent expressed dissatisfaction with Halabja's projects, according to

The U.S. government recently issued a statement marking the 25th anniversary of the attacks and said it would make sure any remaining perpetrators are punished, UPI reports.

"This terrible crime was but one of many in Saddam Hussein's Anfal Campaign, in which tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis were slaughtered," the statement said, according to UPI.