22 die as Iraq blast targets police

22 die as Iraq blast targets police

Twin bombs have killed 22 people, most of them policemen, in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

A third blast 45 minutes later on a road to a city hospital brought the number of injured to at least 60, officials said.

At one hospital, bloodied and bandaged victims lay on the floor because the beds were already filled with patients. A chaotic scene unfolded of doctors and nurses tending patients as security officials brought in more victims.

The first explosion, in a central Kirkuk car park at 9 am, sent policemen rushing outside their secure headquarters compound to investigate. Then the second blast hit.

The double blasts wounded more than 52 and heavily damaged the police headquarters, where rescue workers frantically combed through the rubble to find victims.

The third bomb set cars and trucks ablaze when it exploded about 500 metres away, targeting a police patrol near a mosque.

Kirkuk has been an ethnic flashpoint for years among Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen who each claim the oil-rich city as their own. Tensions directed at the mostly Arab national police and predominantly Kurdish peshmerga forces have been especially rife.

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