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Iraq: Nine killed in attacks across northern Iraq


Insurgents launched attacks against security forces and civilians in two northern areas of Iraq Tuesday, including an oil-rich, disputed region, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens, officials said.

A main target was Kirkuk, the largest city in northern Iraq, claimed by several ethnic groups in a dispute with the central government in Baghdad.

A police officer said three parked car bombs exploded simultaneously, in two Kurdish residential areas, in the center of the city. One went off near a main Kurdish party headquarters.

Five people, including a Kurdish security guard, were killed and 58 others wounded, he said.

A few minutes later, two bombs went off in a market in the Sunni-dominated town of Hawija west of Kirkuk, killing two civilians and wounding five others, he said. Also, five Iraqi army soldiers were wounded when militants detonated bombs near their houses in the nearby town of Tuz Khormato.

Kirkuk, 290 kilometers north of Baghdad, is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen, who all have competing claims to the oil-rich area. The Kurds want to incorporate it into their self-ruled region in Iraq's north, but Arabs and Turkomen are opposed.

Violence has ebbed since the peak of insurgency several years ago, but lethal attacks still occur frequently. No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks, but car bombs, shootings and roadside devices are the hallmark of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

In the northeastern province of Diyala, gunmen showered a checkpoint with bullets during a drive-by shooting, killing one and wounding two others, another police official said.

The checkpoint was manned by Sahwa, an anti-al-Qaeda group.

Also in Diyala, a roadside bomb targeted a passing police patrol in the town of Khan Bani Saad, killing a civilian bystander and wounding two policemen, the officer said.

In the northern city of Mosul, a parked car bomb went off near a house of a lawmaker, wounding five bystanders. The lawmaker was unharmed, another police officer said.

Five other civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi military base in the town of Taji, 20 kilometers north of Baghdad, a police officer said.

Three health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

(AP, Al-Akhbar)

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