Bombers kill more than 30 across Iraq

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:03am EST
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By Mustafa Mahmoud

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - More than 30 people died in a suicide attack and other bombings in northern Iraq and Baghdad on Wednesday, deepening sectarian strife in the OPEC nation as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces mounting pressure from minority Sunnis and Kurds.

Shoppers and police helped drag bloodied survivors out of the rubble and wrecked vehicles after a suicide bomber in a trunk set off a huge explosion in Kirkuk, near the local headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP.

The attacks came as Maliki, a Shi'ite, is locked in a feud with ethnic Kurds in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan over disputed oilfields and also is also confronting Sunni Muslim protesters in a western province calling for him to step down.

"A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives detonated the vehicle outside the KDP headquarters. It's a crowded area, dozens were killed and wounded, Police Brigadier Sarhat Qadir told Reuters in Kirkuk.

Local Kirkuk health officials and police said at least 21 people were killed and more than 170 were wounded.

Another three people died and 37 more were wounded in a separate bombing outside a rival Kurdish political party office in Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of the capital.

Roadside bombs and gun attacks in Baghdad and Baiji, north of the capital killed seven policemen and soldiers.

A year after the last U.S. troops left, Iraq's government of Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish parties is deadlocked in a crisis over how to share power, increasing worries the OPEC country may slide back into wide-scale sectarian confrontation.   Continued...

A wounded resident walks near the site of a suicide bomb blast attack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed