A car bomb detonated by a suicide attacker followed by gunmen storming a
police headquarters in the north Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed 30 people and
wounded 70 others today, a police general said.
Militants had apparently sought to take control of the compound, but were
unsuccessful, Brigadier General Natah Mohammed Sabr, the head of the city's
emergency services department, told AFP.
The attackers struck at morning rush hour in the city centre, Sabr said, with
the militants armed with guns, grenades and suicide vests looking to force their
way into the police headquarters in the chaotic aftermath of the car bombing.
In addition to the casualties, the attack caused massive damage to nearby
buildings, Sabr said.
The deadly attack shattered a relative calm in recent days in Iraq, which has
been grappling with a political crisis pitting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
against his erstwhile government partners amid weeks of ongoing protests calling
for him to resign.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the violence, but Sunni
militants including al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq frequently target security
forces and government targets in a bid to destabilise the country and push it
back towards the sectarian bloodshed that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.
Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city 240 kilometres north of Baghdad, lies at the
heart of a swathe of disputed territory claimed by both the central government
and Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region.`
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