Kirkuk wears scar­let dress

Last week’s twin bomb­ings shake the city, leav­ing hun­dreds of vic­tims

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Early in the morn­ing of Wed­nes­day Jan­uary 16th 2013, two ex­plo­sions rocked the city of Kirkuk and re­sulted in the death of at least 28 peo­ple and the in­jury of more than 175 oth­ers.

The first ex­plo­sion hap­pened at the Azadi Po­lice Com­pound on Atlas Street in down­town Kirkuk, where a GMC car strapped with ex­plo­sives made its sec­ond at­tempt to en­ter the com­pound. While the se­cu­rity of­fi­cer at the com­pound’s gate asked the driver for an iden­tity card, the car ex­ploded and the se­cu­rity of­fi­cer was blown away along with other po­lice of­fi­cers around with the sheer mag­ni­tude of the ex­plo­sions.

The ex­plo­sion hap­pened at 08:40 am lo­cal time, when he had re­port­edly made an­other at­tempt to en­ter the com­pound just six min­utes be­fore but an­other car blocked its way.

The Azadi Com­pound ex­plo­sion was fol­lowed by an ex­plo­sion of a mo­tor­cy­cle just a few min­utes later tar­get­ing the con­voy of Mo­hammed Ka­mal, Head of the Third Branch of the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDP), who was on his way to his of­fice.

A source from the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of Health in Kirkuk told the Kur­dish Globe on Satur­day, three days fol­low­ing the at­tacks, that a to­tal of 28 peo­ple were killed and 176 more were in­jured.

“It is ex­pected that the num­ber of deaths will rise due to the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­juries of some of the vic­tims,” said the Kirkuk Health di­rec­torate source who also stated that there are many civil­ians among the dead and the in­jured.

In ad­di­tion to this, the at­tacks re­sulted in ex­ten­sive dam­age to the build­ings and cars around it.

The po­lice pa­trol build­ing, Asay­ish (Se­cu­rity) sta­tion, so­cial cen­ter build­ing, Bawagur­gur TV Sta­tion build­ing, Kirkuk of­fice of the Za­gros TV chan­nel, Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Youths Union head­quar­ters and some ve­hi­cles around the area were dam­aged.

The Azadi com­pound, sit­u­ated in a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in down­town Kirkuk, is the place where some 23 in­sti­tu­tions af­fil­i­ated to the KDP have been lo­cated since 2003.

The at­tack on the com­pound was not un­prece­dented, since the place has been tar­geted two other times in the past but those ef­forts had been suc­cess­fully foiled by se­cu­rity forces.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and anal­y­sis of the ex­plo­sion con­ducted by the ex­plo­sives di­rec­torate in Kirkuk, the det­o­nated car was car­ry­ing more than half a ton of dy­na­mite and ex­plo­sives, con­sid­er­ing the fact that there are no re­mains left from the car af­ter the ex­plo­sion. The im­pact of the ex­plo­sion was so fierce that the bod­ies of the po­lice of­fi­cers around the scene had to­tally dis­ap­peared.

Kirkuk se­cu­rity ob­servers la­beled the Azadi com­pound bomb­ing of Jan­uary 16th as the sec­ond largest bomb­ing in the city in the nine years since the fall of the Baathist regime in terms of the size of the ex­plo­sives used, the amount of phys­i­cal dam­age caused by the ex­plo­sion as well as the num­ber of vic­tims it left.

An ex­plo­sion near the Kha­bat Bridge a few years ago is con­sid­ered the largest since 2003.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Pres­i­dency Of­fice con­demned the at­tacks in a state­ment and asked the rel­e­vant KRG in­sti­tu­tions to pro­vide emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance to the vic­tims, and also urged the se­cu­rity forces in the city to find the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the deadly at­tacks.

“We fur­ther em­pha­size that although such in­ci­dents hurt all of us, they will not af­fect the peace­ful coex­is­tence of the peo­ple of the Kirkuk Province,” read the state­ment.

The Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG), in ad­di­tion to con­demn­ing the at­tacks and shar­ing the griev­ance of the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims, stated in its ses­sion last week that the KRG is ready to pro­vide med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion and treat­ment to the vic­tims and wel­come them in the re­gion’s hos­pi­tals.

A wounded man is trans­ported on a stretcher to re­ceive treat­ment af­ter a sui­cide bomb blast at­tack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Bagh­dad Jan­uary 16, 2013.

A wounded man is trans­ported on a stretcher to re­ceive treat­ment af­ter a sui­cide bomb blast at­tack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Bagh­dad Jan­uary 16, 2013.

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