Agence France-Presse

Blasts in Iraq's Kirkuk kill at least 8

Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on September 7, 2012.
Credit: Marwan Ibrahim

Six bombings hit Iraq's Kirkuk today, killing at least eight people and wounding scores more, Reuters said, citing local medical and police officials. 

Kirkuk is a key city in the country's disputed north, an area of growing friction between the Kurdish regional government and Baghdad over oil contracts and questions of autonomy.

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Today's blasts hit during prayer time at Shiite mosques, suggesting sectarian motives may be behind the violence. No group has yet claimed responsibility. 

One victim of the attack, 34-year-old injured Abu Amina, told Reuters, "I want to ask the government, the politicians, the armed groups and everyone: what are we guilty of that we are targeted? We are not police officers, not politicians. We are worshippers, simple people."

The first bomb was attached to a car and detonated around 1 p.m.. at a Shiite holy site in the center of Kirkuk, according to Agence France-Press, while another bomb went off soon afterwards in the northeast at another such site, a husseiniyah, or gathering place for worship. Three separate attacks at additional Shiite sites were also reported in the south, where an AFP reporter said charred bodies of two children and a number of burned-out cars could be seen. 

The sixth reported bomb hit the city's Sunni mosque, Al-Ahmedi, said AFP

Kirkuk, located about 180 miles north of Baghdad, was recently at the center of a controversial visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who angered Baghdad by holding a surprise meeting with Kurdish regional authorities there on August 2, according to AFP

Iraq continues to see remittent violence following the pullout of US troops there eight months ago, said Reuters.

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