Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Iraq's Kirkuk rocked by bombings

The wounded were rushed away for treatment following the attacksAt least 16 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a series of bomb attacks on police in Iraq's northern oil city of Kirkuk.
A police patrol was targeted in the first blast in the city centre at about 0730 (0330 GMT), leaving at least 10 dead, a police official said.
About half an hour later, a suspected suicide car bomber tried to ram the main police headquarters, killing five.
The offices of President Talabani's Kurdish party were also targeted.
In another attack, a district police chief was wounded and his bodyguard killed when two bombs went off outside his house.
Confusion surrounds the exact number of attacks. There are fears the death toll could rise.
The attacks may be part of the revenge promised by al-Qaeda in Iraq for the death of their leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in a US air strike last week, the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad says.
Ordinary guerrilla insurgents would not have the resources to organise such a co-ordinated attack, one experienced observer told the BBC.
Attack foiled
In the first attack, eight civilians and two policemen were killed when a bomb exploded in a parked car, Brig Gen Sarhat Qadir was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying. Another eight civilians and a police colonel were wounded.
In the second attack, a suicide car bomber attempted to ram into a checkpoint at the police headquarters. Police opened fire and the car exploded. Two policemen and three civilians were killed, Brig Gen Qadir said.
An attempted car bomb attack on the office of President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party was also foiled. Police opened fire on the car, causing it to explode.
Kirkuk, some 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, is home to a mix of Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen inhabitants, all of whom claim ownership of the city and the oil-rich territory around it.
The city has been spared some of the large bombings suffered by other Iraqi cities.
But it has been the scene of frequent attacks on police by insurgents waging war on US-led multinational forces and their Iraqi allies.