News / Middle East

At Least 15 in Attack on Kirkuk Police HQ in Iraq

Iraqi firefighters distinguish a fire at the scene of a bomb attack in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, February 3, 2013.
Iraqi firefighters distinguish a fire at the scene of a bomb attack in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, February 3, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Edward Yeranian
— At least 15 people have been killed and dozens more injured by a truck-bomb explosion outside the main police headquarters in the sectarian and ethnically mixed Iraqi city of Kirkouk.  There has been increasing political tension between Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds in Iraq.  

Fire and rescue crews worked feverishly to douse flaming wreckage of burning vehicles outside Kirkouk's police headquarters, following the explosions.  Most of the the multi-floor police complex was gutted by the blasts, which shattered its windows and facade.  Part of an adjacent municipal building collapsed.

Iraqi government TV reported police shot and killed two other suicide-bombers, disguised as police officers, before they could detonate their explosive vests.  

Police General Nasih Mohammed said police carried out a major rescue operation after the explosion.

He says civil defense crews were able to save more than 30 people who were buried under rubble at the Kirkouk city hal.

Iraqi state TV reported the attackers were hoping to free prisoners from a prison facility inside police headquarters.  One of the key demands of Sunni protesters in recent weeks has been the liberation of prisoners being held arbitrarily by the government.

Hundreds of Sunni protesters are continuing a seven-week sit-in on the main square of Samarra, chanting religious slogans as speakers denounce the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

University of Paris political science teacher Khattar Abou Diab says Prime Minister Maliki is at odds with Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq.   

He says Maliki told Al-Mayadeen TV recently the region is experiencing a conflict between a Shi'ite axis allied with Iran and a Sunni axis allied with Turkey.  Maliki, he points out, said he is supporting the Iran-Shi'ite axis, and has been waging a political battle with both Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq.

Abou Diab says the conflict over Kirkouk has been at the heart of the conflict, because the city is claimed by both Kurds and Sunni-Arab Turkmens.

Maliki has been in a dispute with Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani over the rights to sell oil abroad and revenues owed to the central government.  Last year, he attempted to arrest Sunni Vice President Tareq al Hashemi, who fled the country.  Hashemi claims the charges were fabricated.

Violence in Iraq has fallen, but a number of apparently sectarian explosions have hit the Kirkouk region in recent months.  Last month, a suicide-bombing in the town of Tuz Khormatou killed dozens of mourners at a funeral in a Shi'ite mosque.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid