Rescuers work at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kirkuk, on Feb. 3, 2013. At least 30 people were killed and some 70 others wounded in a coordinated car bomb and suicide attack on a police headquarters in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, a local police source said. (Xinhua/Dina Assad)
KIRKUK, Iraq, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- A suicide car bomber along with other suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks at a provincial police headquarters in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk on Sunday, a provincial police source said.
The attacks started in the morning when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the entrance of the police compound in central Kirkuk, some 250 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Afterwards, two suicide bombers wearing explosive vests and carrying AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades tried to penetrate the security walls, but the guards opened fire and blew them up, the source said.
The suicide bombers threw several grenades and exchanged heavy fire with the security forces before they were killed, the source added.
The attack apparently was an attempt to take control of the police compound and probably targeted the jail of the headquarters which hold dozens of detainees, some of whom are senior al-Qaida members, the police said.
"I just entered the headquarters when a huge blast rocked the compound, turning the place into debris, dust and smashed windows, " Hameed Sulaiman, a policeman told Xinhua at the scene.
Another police officer who spoke anonymously told Xinhua that he was inside the compound during the attack and after the end of battle he saw his friend, a police officer, killed at the entrance.
"On my way out of the compound after the blasts, I saw many people killed and at the gate I recognized my friend's body who was on duty. He lost one of his legs and an arm. I just covered his body," the officer said with grief on his face.
Twisted and charred wreckage of several cars and police vehicles could be seen at the scene, while ponds of blood and parts of human bodies scattered near the security walls at the entrance of the compound.
The massive explosion of the first blast badly damaged the facade of the nearby Kirkuk's post office and several buildings.
Mazin al-Obiedi, 45, said that he just opened his shop near the compound when a huge explosion occurred.
"The blast was terrifying, I have never heard such a big one in my life. My shop turned upside down," Obiedi said, who was putting a bandage on his injured arm caused by the smashed glasses.
Iraqi security forces sealed off the scene while a civil defense rescue team was seen removing debris to search for more possible survivors and victims.
Ambulances, police vehicles and civilian cars evacuated the victims to several hospitals and medical centers in the city.
Brigadier General Nasih Mohammed Saber, chief of Kirkuk's defense police, told reporters that some 30 people were killed and 70 wounded by the blasts.
However, health officials told Xinhua that Kirkuk Hospital received 16 bodies and 52 injured people, while Azadi Hospital received some 35 wounded people, putting the total toll as 16 killed and 87 wounded.
The ethnically mix province of Kirkuk and its capital Kirkuk City are part of the disputed areas between the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans.
No one has so far claimed responsible for the deadly attacks, but observers see such attacks were managed by the insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militant group, to show that they are capable of carrying out coordinated and high-profile attacks that could undermine the government's claims of providing security to Iraqis.
Al-Qaida front in Iraq frequently claimed the responsible for most deadly attacks in the country, increasing fears that the terrorist group could return to widespread violence.
Violence and sporadic high-profile bomb attacks are still common in the Iraqi cities despite the dramatic decrease in violence since its peak in 2006 and 2007, when the country was engulfed in sectarian killings.
At least 30 killed in bombings in northern Iraq
KIRKUK, Iraq, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least 30 people were killed and some 70 others wounded in a coordinated car bomb and suicide attack on a police headquarters in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, a local police source said.
The attack apparently was an attempt to take control of the police compound. The attackers blew up at least one car bomb and a suicide bomber wearing explosive vest struck the entrance of the compound, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Full story