Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday declared his country's support for an independent Kurdish state ahead of a regional referendum in northern Iraq.
Israel "supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state," Netantahu said in a statement.
The controversial referendum on Kurdish regional independence slated for 25 September will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state.
Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the ongoing fight against Daesh, which — despite a string of recent defeats — still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.
The Iraqi government also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's national charter.
Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.
Washington has likewise voiced concern that the poll could serve as a "distraction" from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of post-Daesh Iraq.