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Middle East

Multiple blasts hit two Iraqi cities

At least nine dead in series of car bombs targeting Shia worshippers in Kirkuk and Kurdish security office in Jalawla.
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012 23:18
Talabani recently announced a plan to ease the tension between the central government and Kurdish authorities [AFP]

At least nine people have been killed series of bombings targeting two Shia places of worship in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk and a Kurdish political office.

Two car bombs and seven roadside bombs on Sunday targeted two Shia places of worship in Kirkuk, one in the city's north and another in its south, killing a total of five people and wounding 14, a senior police officer told the AFP news agency.

The attacks occurred around 7:30pm local time (16:30GMT), the officer said. A doctor from Kirkuk general hospital confirmed the toll.

Earlier on Sunday, a car bomb explosion near a Kurdish party office killed two Kurdish security recruits and wounded five in a disputed city north of the capital, Baghdad.

Security officials said the blast targeted the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office in Jalawla some 125km northeast of the capital.

An officer in the Jalawla police said the bomb exploded at the local headquarters of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan after a number of people seeking to join the Kurdish Peshmerga security forces had gathered.

Both Arabs and Kurds claim Jalawla, and a local policeman said the violence resulted from the tensions. He did not explain further, but mostly Arab Sunni insurgents have made use of ethnic rivalries.

Ethnically mixed Jalawla is in Diyalah province, and is one of the areas which Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate, over the strong objections of Baghdad.

The dispute over territory in northern Iraq is the greatest threat to the country's long-term stability, diplomats and officials say.

Ties between Baghdad and Kurdistan are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.

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