Suicide bombers unleash attacks on Kurds in north Iraq
KIRKUK, Iraq - Suicide bombers killed three people in an attack on Kurdish security forces and a Kurdish political party office in north Iraq on Wednesday, and four people more died in other unrest, officials said.
One suicide bomber driving an explosives-rigged car targeted security forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, known as peshmerga, near the north Iraq city of Kirkuk, killing one peshmerga member and wounding 12, police and a medical official said.
Another suicide car bombing at an office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's party in Kirkuk killed one person and wounded 38, police and the official said.
And in Tuz Khurmatu, a town in Salaheddin province, a third suicide car bomber attacked a peshmerga checkpoint, killing another peshmerga member and wounding one more, officials said.
Both Kirkuk province and Tuz Khurmatu are part of a swathe of north Iraq territory that Kurdistan wants to incorporate into its autonomous region over the strong objections of the federal government in Baghdad.
Diplomats and officials say the dispute is a major threat to Iraq's long-term stability.
Also on Wednesday, gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killing three police and wounding two others, police and a doctor said.
One gunman was also killed in the attack.
Violence in Iraq has fallen from its peak at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common and have killed more than 200 people in each of the first four months of this year.
With the latest unrest, 78 people have been killed in violence in Iraq so far this month, almost half of them members of the security forces, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.