Dozens dead and injured in Iraq police station bombing

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The Independent Online

At least ten people were killed and 45 injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed vehicle today outside an Iraqi police station in a Kurdish neighbourhood of the ethnically divided northern city of Kirkuk.

At least ten people were killed and 45 injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed vehicle today outside an Iraqi police station in a Kurdish neighbourhood of the ethnically divided northern city of Kirkuk.

The attack was the latest in a string of vehicle and suicide bombings against Iraqi security forces and others seen as cooperating with the US-led occupation, killing more than 300 people this year.

About 20 policemen had gathered in front of the Rahimawa police station to get their day's orders when the car exploded at 8.45am, said the station's chief, Colonel Adel Ibrahim. The explosion heavily damaged nearby buildings and destroyed cars.

All of the dead are believed to be policemen. Among the wounded were a schoolboy and four girls from a nearby high school. Lieutenant Abdul Salaam Zangana, a security officer at al-Jumhuriya hospital, said 10 of the wounded were in critical condition.

Kurds are pressing to maintain their self-rule region in the north under any future Iraqi government - and to keep their militias, which they say are needed to protect Kurds after years of oppression by Saddam Hussein's ousted regime.

US administrators oppose the maintenance of any local militias. The 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, which is drafting an interim constitution, is trying to work out a federal system to decentralize government in the future Iraq, but differences have arisen over how much autonomy to give Kurdish areas.

The bomb exploded as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Iraq from Kuwait and was taken to the headquarters of the 10th Armoured Calvary Regiment east of Baghdad.

Mr Rumsfeld met four young members of Iraq's new security forces and told them he was impressed with the progress they were making.

"We're looking forward to seeing Iraqis take over the responsibility for the security of your country," he said.

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