Hundreds gather to mark 25th anniversary of Halabja gas attack
An Iraqi Kurdish woman visits the grave of her sister, who was killed in a gas attack by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in 1988 (AFP Photo)
Kurds in northern Iraq have gathered to mark 25 years since a deadly gas attack in Halabja by Saddam Hussein's forces.
Hundreds of mourners brought photos of loved ones to the Martyr's Monument in Halabja where they observed a minutes silence on Saturday.
It's 25 years since Iraqi government helicopters and warplanes dropped chemical weapons on the town, killing an estimated 5,000 people. Many thousand more suffered illnesses and died after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent.
Researchers have reported an abnormally high number of birth defects in the Kurdish area, suggesting that the poisons have got in to the the gene pool, as well as the soil and the water.
Saddam Hussein's cousin - Chemical Ali - earned his sinister nickname after ordering the attack. He was executed in 2010 for his role.
The poison gas bombing was part of a wider campaign against Kurds in which thousands more were systematically attacked and killed. In 2011 the massacre was officially recognised as a genocide in the Iraqi parliament.