Decoy roadside bomb lures 12 Iraqi policemen to their deaths

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Twelve Iraqi policemen trying to defuse a roadside bomb north-west of Kirkuk were killed yesterday when they were caught in the blast from a second device hidden near by.

Twelve Iraqi policemen trying to defuse a roadside bomb north-west of Kirkuk were killed yesterday when they were caught in the blast from a second device hidden near by.

The police were guarding the Northern Oil Company, which runs the Kirkuk oilfields on the plain just outside the city. A further three policemen were wounded. Brigadier Sarhat Qadir said he believed his men were lured to the spot by one bomb, which they were intended to see, to be killed by the second.

The explosion, near the village of Bajwan, contradicted claims by local officials that insurgents were losing their ability to strike in Kirkuk. Captured by Kurdish forces in 2003, the future of the city, divided between Kurds, Arabs and Turkomans, has still to be settled. "The situation here is better than other parts of Iraq, certainly an improvement on a few months ago," said Nagat Hassan, a Kurdistan Democratic Party official, just before the explosion. He said there had been no shootings recently.

This was not quite true. Two policemen had just been wounded in the city in an attack claimed by Ansar al-Sunna, a resistance group with a reputation for being ruthless and wellorganised. A doctor was also targeted by a car bomb, but escaped unhurt. Mr Hassan's assistant also said security was improving, but a machine gun was propped beside his desk and he tucked a pistol in his belt as he left his office.

The fate of Kirkuk is one issue the Kurds want settled soon. They have no intention of giving it up. Nouri Talabani, a member of the Kurdish parliament and an expert on Kirkuk, said the Kurds must be allowed to reverse the expulsion of their people by Saddam Hussein and the forcible Arabisation of the city since 1963. He said: "The number of Kurdish villages destroyed, many of them in 1987 and 1988, totals 779."

Despite the violence, Kirkuk is safer than Baghdad, where there were four attacks yesterday. A suicide bomber in a car drove into a US convoy on the airport road, killing five Iraqis and wounding four US contractors. Another blast in east Baghdad set fire to a fuel tanker.

Comments