The attack took place at around 7.00 pm (1600GMT) in the compound of the showroom in southern Kirkuk, Rahman said.

 

Control over the oil-rich city, which is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, has stoked ethnic tensions as Iraq prepares for provincial elections that the United States and United Nations have been hoping would take place this fall.

   

Iraq's minority Kurds want to ensure the elections, which may be delayed substantially due to political disagreement over Kirkuk, do not weaken their control of the city.

   

Kurds see Kirkuk as their ancestral home and hope to make it part of their autonomous northern region.