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Attacks in disputed Iraqi province kills seven

by Staff Writers
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) May 21, 2011
Seven people were killed in attacks in the disputed northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk on Saturday, police said, just two days after a string of anti-police attacks in the region killed 29.

The latest violence further raised tension in Kirkuk and its capital of the same name, an oil-rich region claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities in Arbil.

US officials have repeatedly said the unresolved dispute is one of the biggest threats to Iraq's future stability.

On Saturday, gunmen killed Salim and Samah Abdulwahab, two Kurdish brothers aged 23 and 21, inside their home in north Kirkuk city, police First Lieutenant Laith Mahmud said.

Salim was a policeman while Samah worked in an auto repair shop.

"Police found their bodies covered in blood inside their home," Mahmud said.

In the east of the city, insurgents gunned down a handicapped man who operated a neighbourhood electricity generator, Mahmud added.

Kirkuk, like the rest of Iraq, suffers chronic power shortages, so districts often join together to pay for a communal generator.

In the south of the city, a factory worker and his three-year-old daughter were killed by gunmen as they were leaving the factory, a security official said, on condition of anonymity.

And in Al-Rashad, 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of the provincial capital, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded two others, said police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.

A separate roadside bomb against a police patrol in Al-Riyadh, east of Kirkuk city, also wounded two civilians, Qader said.

In northern Iraq's main city of Mosul, gunmen killed a civilian in a drive-by shooting, according to a security official who did not want to be named. It was unclear why the man was targeted.

Saturday's violence comes two days after three bombings against police in the provincial capital killed 29 people, 26 of them policemen, and wounded 90 others, on Iraq's deadliest day since late March.

Kirkuk lies at the centre of a tract of disputed territory claimed by both Iraq's central government and by Kurdish regional authorities.

Currently, US forces participate in confidence-building tripartite patrols and checkpoints with central government forces and Kurdish security officers in Kirkuk and across northern Iraq.

But the withdrawal of some 45,000 US troops still in Iraq must be completed by the end of the year.

Violence is down dramatically in Iraq from its peak, but attacks remain common. A total of 211 Iraqis were killed in violence in April, according to official figures.

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North Iraq violence kills 5: police
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) May 21, 2011
Violence in the disputed northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk left five people dead on Saturday, police said, just two days after a string of anti-police attacks in the region killed 29. The latest violence further raises tension in Kirkuk and its eponymous capital, which are claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities in Arbil. US officials have persi ... read more

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