Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing
outside a polling station in Kirkuk. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed
Fifty people were killed as suicide bombers attacked a
political rally and Iraqi police and soldiers cast their votes
early for a national election in two days' time, authorities
and witnesses say.
A suicide attacker killed at least 30 people and wounded 50
others at a Kurdish political gathering in the town of
Khanaqin, 140 km (100 miles) northeast of Baghdad, security
The Kurds were celebrating the television appearance of Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd incapacitated since late
2012, who cast his vote in Germany where he was undergoing
"The attacker snuck among the crowds near the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan's headquarters and blew himself up, causing a
tragic massacre," one police officer said, sobbing after he
discovered his brother was among those killed.
Meanwhile, Sunni Muslim militants, mostly disguised in army
and police uniforms, struck at polling centres around Baghdad
and northern Iraq as militants tried to disrupt Iraq's fourth
national election since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
A curfew begins on Tuesday night as ordinary Iraqis prepare
to vote on Wednesday. Security forces are at war with an
al-Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
in western Anbar province and other areas encircling the
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is battling for a third term in
office but faces fierce opposition from political opponents,
with sectarian violence in the Shi'ite Muslim-majority
country at its most intense since 2008.
In the western Mansour district of Baghdad, six police died
and 16 others were wounded when a suicide bomber dressed as a
policeman detonated his explosives at the entrance of a
school being used for voting, police and medical sources
BOMBERS IN UNIFORM
In the Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya, a bomber blew himself
up in front of another polling centre, killing four soldiers
and wounding seven. Ahmed Sultan was waiting to vote.
"We saw a person in army uniform coming out from a side
street. He started to run in our direction. We all started to
flee after realising he was a bomber," the soldier said.
"While I was running a powerful blast threw me ... everybody
was shouting run, run, a second bomber could hit us."
ISIL, which wants a Sunni Muslim caliphate, has threatened
Sunni Iraqis with death if they vote. The attacks on Monday
seemed designed to intimidate people debating whether it was
safe to vote in two days.
In northern Iraq, where ISIL has been hitting the security
forces with ambushes, assassinations and explosions in their
homes, at least 10 police were killed.
In Tuz Khurmatu, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform
blew himself up near a polling station, killing three
policemen and wounding nine, police said.
Sunni militants have repeatedly attacked the area, which is
home to the Shi'ite Turkmen minority. A bomber in a police
uniform blew up himself and six policemen by a voting centre
One soldier was killed and four wounded when a suicide
attacker in an army uniform blew himself up near a polling
station in the town of Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of
the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.