Six killed in bomb attacks in tense Kirkuk province
KIRKUK - Car bombs killed four people in Kurdish areas of the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, while roadside bombs killed two more in a nearby Arab town, a security official and a doctor said.
The attacks come a day after top security officials from the federal government and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region reached an agreement aimed at easing high tensions in disputed areas of northern Iraq, which the country's parliamentary speaker has warned could lead to civil war.
One car bomb exploded in a Kurdish area of east Kirkuk near a Kurdistan Democratic Party youth club, one of the two main Kurdish parties in Iraq, killing two people and wounding seven, a security official said.
About 10 minutes later, a second car bomb exploded in another Kurdish area in the city's northeast, killing a Kurdish security forces member and wounding four other people, the official said.
And a third car bomb detonated in the north of the city killed one person and wounded five, with Kurdish security forces members among the wounded.
Two roadside bombs meanwhile exploded in an Arab-majority town about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Kirkuk, killing two people, among them a policeman, and wounding one other.
Dr Nabil Yusef from Kirkuk General Hospital confirmed that six people were killed in the attacks.
Also on Tuesday, six roadside bombs targeted Iraqi army and police in the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu, wounding two members of the security forces, police Lieutenant Colonel Khaled al-Bayati said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but car and roadside bombs are a hallmark of Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq.
Top federal and Kurdish security officials met on Monday, agreeing to continue with talks and on activating coordinating committees between their forces, and to work to calm the situation and look for mechanisms to withdraw military units mobilised during the increased tensions.
Parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi has been holding talks since November 21 with political leaders in Baghdad and Kurdistan in a bid to reduce tensions.
Kurdistan wants to incorporate a swathe of territory in northern Iraq over Baghdad's strong objections -- a dispute that diplomats and officials say is the biggest threat to Iraq's long-term stability.
Ties between the two sides are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.