Iraq: Suicide bombing kills one near Kirkuk ballot box site

Policeman killed, 22 people wounded after suicide attacker blows up car outside storage facility, security sources say.

Employees of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission inspect ballot boxes at a warehouse in Dohuk
Employees of the Independent High Electoral Commission inspect ballot boxes at a warehouse in Duhok, northern Iraq [File: Ari Jalal/Reuters]

A suicide car bomb attack near a warehouse storing ballot boxes in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk has killed at least one policeman and wounded 22 people, according to a local official.

The attack in the southern part of the province occurred on Sunday when a driver rammed his explosive-laden car near the gate of the building, Hamed al-Obeidi, police captain, was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

Most of the wounded were security personnel, he added.

An anonymous security source told AFP news agency that at least four civilians were among the wounded.

“Nine policemen, six members of a counter-terrorist unit and four civilians were wounded when a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber exploded at the main gate of the warehouse,” the source said.

The ballot boxes were not damaged, according to Kirkuk’s electoral commission.

“The targeting of ballot box storage site sends a strong message, but our forces are capable of foiling any plot meant to undermine Kirkuk’s security,” said Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saeed al-Jabouri. 

The attack came two days before Iraq’s electoral commission starts the manual recount of votes from the disputed May 12 parliamentary election, in which Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition came first.

The results were contested mainly by the political old guard who lost their seats in parliament, alleging electoral fraud and vote-rigging.

Earlier this month, the outgoing Iraqi parliament mandated that the votes should be recounted manually, a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a result, the court dismissed Iraq’s nine-member electoral commission and replaced them with judges.

The judges’ spokesman, Laith Hamza, said on Saturday that the partial recount would start on Tuesday in the Kurdish provinces of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Duhok, as well as in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Anbar.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies