At least seventeen people killed and many others injured in two car bomb attacks in Iraq

At least seventeen people killed and many others injured in two car bomb attacks in Iraq
# 16 January 2013 11:39 (UTC +04:00)

The attack on Wednesday struck in the centre of the ethnically-mixed northern city, where the attacker detonated a car bomb.

The blast appeared to target a compound housing local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani.

Police sources also confirmed that another suicide car bomber attacked in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk, killing two people and injuring 26 others.

The second explosion took place near the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The violence comes amid a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki against several of his ministers just months ahead of key provincial elections.

Weeks of anti-government demonstrations in Sunni Arab majority areas, supported by several parties that are members of Maliki's unity cabinet, have hardened opposition against Maliki, a Shia.

The demonstrations have decried alleged misuse of anti-terror laws to detain members of the minority community, and claim Sunnis are being targeted by the Shia-led authorities.

The crisis comes with barely three months to go before provincial elections, a key barometer of support for Maliki and his opponents ahead of a general election next year.

Violence is down across Iraq since the country's brutal sectarian war, but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.

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