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 persistently said that the unresolved row 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 respectively, 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, meanwhile, insurgents gunned down a handicapped man who was responsible for operating 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.
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, according to 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.
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, Iraq's deadliest day since March 29.
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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Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
Bomb attacks on north Iraq police kill 29
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) May 19, 2011
A spate of bomb attacks against police in Iraq's disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Thursday killed at least 29 people, the worst violence to hit the country in nearly two months. A further 90 people were wounded in the three attacks, which drew condemnation from the UN's envoy to Iraq, with just months to go before US forces must withdraw from the country. And in separate bombings in B ... read more
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