At LEAST 33 people were killed in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday when a suicide bomber detonated a device in a truck packed with explosives outside a police headquarters and gunmen disguised as officers tried to storm the compound.
The blast was the third major attack in weeks in or near the multi-ethnic city of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, at the heart of a dispute between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region.
Police said the bomber triggered the huge blast near a side entrance to the police building, demolishing part of a government office nearby.
Police said 33 people were killed, including 12 employees at the government office.
The attack comes as insurgents linked to al-Qaeda try to inflame sectarian conflict in Iraq, where a power-sharing government split among Shiite majority, Sunni and ethnic Kurds has been in crisis since the last US troops left a year ago.
Shiite prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is facing mass protests from Sunnis in western provinces complaining of marginalisation. He is also caught in a stand-off with the country’s autonomous Kurdish enclave in the north.