Bombers kill more than 35 across Iraq

Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:44am EST
 
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By Mustafa Mahmoud

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - More than 35 people died in a suicide attack and other bombings in northern Iraq and Baghdad on Wednesday, worsening sectarian strife as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces mounting pressure from minority Sunni Muslims and Kurds.

Shoppers and police helped drag bloodied survivors out of the rubble and wrecked vehicles after a car bomb and a suicide bomber in a truck set off huge blasts in Kirkuk, near the local headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim, is locked in a feud with ethnic Kurds in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan over disputed oilfields and is also confronting Sunni 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 25 people were killed and more than 180 were wounded.

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

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 mired in a crisis over how to share power, increasing worries that the OPEC member state may relapse into wide-scale sectarian bloodshed   Continued...