News24

Double car bombs in Kirkuk

2014-06-04 17:26

Baghdad - Back-to-back car bombs rocked the ethnically mixed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, in the deadliest of a string of attacks across the country that left 17 people dead.

The first car bomb was parked in a lot near a police building in the city centre, while the second one was parked nearby and targeted a commercial area, said Major Generakl Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef, the deputy police chief.

Youssef said a policeman and seven civilians were killed in the blasts, and that another nine people were wounded.

Kirkuk, about 290km north of Baghdad, is in an oil-rich region and is home to an ethnic mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen, all of whom have competing claims to city.

Earlier Wednesday, a parked car bomb ripped through a commercial area in northern Baghdad, killing four civilians and wounding 12, a police officer said. In Baghdad's western Mansour neighbourhood, a bomb went off next to a passing police patrol, killing two civilians and wounding seven other people.

Two policemen were killed and three wounded in a roadside bomb explosion the town of Taji, some 20km north of Baghdad, and a policeman was killed and six others wounded when a bomb hit their patrol in the area of Arab Jabour, a former insurgent stronghold some 25km south of Baghdad.

Iraq is experiencing its worst surge in violence since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006 and 2007, which pushed the country to the brink of civil war. The UN. mission in Iraq said May was the deadliest month so far this year, with 799 Iraqis killed in violence, including 603 civilians. According to UN figures, 8 868 people were killed in 2013.

Authorities in Iraq's western province of Anbar said on Wednesday that a suicide bomber targeted a group of pro-government, anti-militant Sunni militiamen late the night before, killing eight people and wounding 14.

Sunni

The bomber struck the militiamen when they were patrolling a camp for families who had fled the months-long fighting in western Anbar province between militants from an al-Qaeda splinter group and government forces allied with Sunni tribal fighters, a police officer said.

It was unclear if the bomber had come from the camp, which is located outside the provincial capital of Ramadi, or had followed the militiamen into it. The police officer said two militiamen, three guards and three women died in the explosion.

The officer identified one of the slain militiamen as Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, the nephew of the influential tribal leader Ahmed Abu Risha whose brother led the formation of the original Sahwa - an anti-al-Qaeda militia allied with US forces - until his assassination in 2007.

The al-Qaeda splinter group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and other Sunni-led militant groups have strengthened their control over parts of Anbar province, including the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, since late December.

The government has made little if any progress in its campaign to dislodge them.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.