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.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Turkey-Iraq discuss Kirkuk status

15:28 - 09 June 2006
"Kirkuk should be given special status," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Premier Barham Salih. Erdogan put down Turkey's expectations over establishment of stability and security atmosphere in Iraq after formation of new government in that country and particularly reiterated Turkey's known views pertaining to status of Kirkuk. Erdogan also pointed to the risks in Iraq caused by ethnical structurings [as received], and noted that territorial integrity and unity of Iraq were very important for Turkey. Erdogan and Salih also discussed improvement of commercial relations between Turkey and Iraq as well as the problems in border passes. Salih in his part said Iraq's territorial integrity would definitely be protected, stating that, "Kirkuk is also the problem of Iraq. It will absolutely reach a fair solution." Erdogan also explained Turkey's uneasiness over the PKK issue. Salih in his part said, "PKK is a threat also for us. Turkey's security is our security. Necessary measures will be taken."

Turkish PM says Kirkuk should be given special status

ISTANBUL - Turkey’s Prime Minister has said the oil rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq should be given a special status, rather than come under the control just of local Iraqi Kurdish authorities. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan floated the suggestion during a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Behram Salih late on Thursday, at which he warned of the risks of establishing a sectarian state in Iraq. Erdogan stressed the importance Ankara gave to the territorial integrity of Iraq and its unity.