Suicide bombing attack that kills at least 16 show al-Qa’ida retains its influence in Iraq

 

Baghdad

Suicide bombers killed at least 16 people outside the police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk today in the third such attack in the region in recent weeks.

A vehicle painted to resemble a police car and packed with explosives, was first detonated at the side entrance of the police station before two gunmen dressed as police, wearing explosive belts, tried to fight their way into the building. Both were killed before they could blow themselves up. At least 12 government employees died and a large crater was left in the road.

According to some sources, as many as 33 people may have been killed and 90 wounded in the attack, which also injured the Kirkuk police chief, Sarhan Qader. Like its recent predecessors, the attack has the hallmarks of a well-coordinated al-Qa’ida operation.

Kirkuk, with its mixed Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen population, has been controlled by the Kurds since they captured it at the time of the US-led invasion in 2003. But Kurdish claims to Kirkuk have never been recognised by the government in Baghdad, which also disputes the right of the Kurdistan Regional Government to award oil exploration contracts to foreign companies. There have also been a series of stand-offs in the so-called “disputed territories” between Kurdish and government forces, although most confrontations have been defused. 

Al-Qa’ida, while not the force it was in 2006-07, is still capable of recruiting suicide bombers and making sophisticated attacks.

The official police account says “a suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives hit the entrance of the headquarters and after the blast gunmen in explosive vests attacked with AK47s and grenades, but the guards killed them.”

It is not clear exactly how the latest attacks relate to ethnic divisions in and around Kirkuk, but they appear to be aimed at contesting the Kurds’ de facto control. One of the bloodiest recent bombings was directed at Shia Turkmen in the town Tuz Kharmato, south of Kirkuk, when a bomber killed 23 people inside a mosque.

Some 4,400 people were killed in attacks and bombings in Iraq in 2012, the first increase in three years.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee