Bombings in Iraq Kill More Than 20 and Are Seen as Political

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BAGHDAD -- At least two car bombs shattered a building housing the local headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the restive city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 200, according to the police.

A third bomb at a nearby facility used by Kurdish security forces killed at least four more people, news agencies reported.

The suicide bombers' main target appeared to have been the local office of Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's semiautonomous northern Kurdish region. Kirkuk is about 180 miles north of Baghdad.

Tensions have increased recently in the city, where government soldiers squared off with Kurdish militias after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki sought to consolidate his control over security there.

"This is a political explosion," said Muhammed Kamal, the chief of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Kirkuk. "Iraq is witnessing a political crisis that is being reflected on the security of the country and it's all because of the prime minister."

The attacks took place on Atlas Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in central Kirkuk. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but car bombs have frequently been used by Sunni insurgents.

The bombings came a day after a member of the Iraqi Parliament was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Anbar Province. The lawmaker, Efan al-Essawi, was also the leader of a local council of the Awakening movement, an American-backed group of Sunni militias that switched sides to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Mr. Essawi had escaped earlier assassination attempts. In 2009, attackers placed a magnetic bomb on the armored car he was using when he was a candidate for Parliament, the first attack on a candidate as those elections approached.

Also on Wednesday, gunmen killed three policemen at a checkpoint northeast of the capital, according to the police, and two women were killed in an attack west of Baghdad.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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