Cork man survives Iraq car bomb blast

AN Irishman, working with a private security firm in Iraq, is recovering in hospital after surviving a car bomb attack that killed several colleagues.

The injured Co Cork man sustained mainly shrapnel wounds to the leg after the attack in the northern part of the country on Tuesday morning.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that an Irish citizen had been injured. A spokesperson declined to divulge details but said the “wounded man was recovering in hospital”.

He was named yesterday as Padraig O’Keeffe, whose family live in Cobh.

Mr O’Keeffe, in his mid-30s, had been working in Iraq for several years. He has previous military experience, having served with the French Foreign Legion.

His family could not be contacted yesterday but it is believed Mr O’Keeffe was in touch with his parents yesterday. He is reported to have also suffered an ear drum injury after the blast.

A department spokesperson said details of the incident are vague as Ireland does not have official representation in Iraq.

It is believed Mr O’Keeffe was caught in one of three car bombs that hit northern Iraq on Tuesday.

More than 15 civilians, along with one US soldier, were killed in the blasts, while over 126 others were wounded.

The attacks ended a relative lull in violence that had fallen over the country in recent days.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said its policy was to advise Irish nationals not to travel to Iraq.

The spokesperson said that, due to not having official representation in Baghdad, the Irish authorities were unaware of how many Irish citizens were working in Iraq.

The Reuters news agency, quoting US military, said that in one attack, 10 civilians were killed and around 100 others injured when a car exploded in front of a mayor’s office in the northern city of Mosul.

Although details are not available of which blast Mr O’Keeffe was caught up in, it is believed efforts are being made to transfer him to a hospital in Germany.

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