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3 car bombs kill 7 in northern Iraq

Nearly 70 are wounded as the car bombs shatter months of relative calm in Kirkuk. Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens all claim the oil-rich region of Iraq but are at odds over the province's future.

February 10, 2011|By Asso Ahmed and Raheem Salman, Los Angeles Times
  • A television camera shows the moment a bomb detonated on a street in Kirkuk, Iraq, as security forces and emergency personnel rushed to the scene of another explosion. The explosions were from two of the three car bombs that ripped through Kirkuk on Wednesday, killing seven and wounding scores.
A television camera shows the moment a bomb detonated on a street in Kirkuk,… (Associated Press )

Reporting from Kirkuk, Iraq, and Baghdad — Three car bombs exploded Wednesday in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing seven people and wounding 67, Iraqi police said.

The assaults were a combination of timed bombs and a suicide attack that occurred nearly simultaneously at midmorning.

The first car bomb blew up as a police patrol passed. The second bombing was a suicide attack outside the front checkpoint for the headquarters for Kurdish intelligence. The third explosion took place not far from the compound's back side.

"The city hasn't witnessed explosions like this in seven months," said Khalil Abdullah, 52, who owns an ice cream shop near the Kurdish intelligence office. "We can't say that this place is 100% safe or that explosions will no longer happen."

The neighborhood, Tariq Baghdad, is primarily Arab despite the presence of the Kurdish security office.

Kirkuk remains in limbo, a region that is home to bounteous oil fields and is claimed by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. The sides have been unable to find a solution to the stalemate over the area's future.

U.S. forces continue to play the role of buffer at joint checkpoints, coordinating with Iraqi army and Kurdish troops. American troops are scheduled to leave the country at the end of 2011, and whether the departure will jar the status quo in Kirkuk remains to be seen.

Last month, Iraq saw a wave of car bomb attacks around Baghdad and the country's south and north, but the situation had quieted.

The government remains deadlocked over posts in the Cabinet, including the security ministries.

Special correspondent Ahmed reported from Kirkuk and Times staff writer Salman from Baghdad. Staff writer Ned Parker in Cairo contributed to this report.

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