News / Middle East

Rare Bombs in Iraqi Kurdistan Trigger Deadly Gun Battle

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Iraqi Kurdish officials say a double car bombing and gun battle in northern Iraq's usually peaceful Kurdish autonomous region has killed at least 10 people.

Authorities said Sunday's attack began with a suicide bomber detonating a car near the entrance to the Interior Ministry of Iraqi Kurdistan in the provincial capital of Irbil.  Minutes later, a second vehicle exploded and gunfire erupted at the scene.

Officials said six Iraqi Kurdish security personnel were killed. Irbil provincial Governor Nawzad Hadi told VOA security forces also shot and killed four assailants.

Iraqi Kurdistan's Radio Nawa said the al-Qaida in Iraq militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The station also said 62 people were wounded, 42 of them security personnel and the rest civilians.

In other violence, Iraqi police said a suicide bomber killed at least 25 people in a Shi'ite mosque in the town of Musayeb, south of Baghdad.  The victims were mourning the death of a man killed earlier.

Sectarian attacks on majority Shi'ites and minority Sunnis have escalated across Iraq in recent months.  

Sunday's incident in Irbil marked the first major attack in Iraqi Kurdistan since a 2007 truck bombing killed 14 people near the same security complex.

Iraqi Kurdistan has an autonomous government with its own security forces, who have largely shielded the region from terrorist and sectarian attacks that have plagued the rest of Iraq for years.

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