KIRKUK: A suicide car bombing followed by an assault by grenade-throwing gunmen on a police headquarters in a disputed city in north Iraq killed 30 people on Sunday.
The vehicle that was detonated in central Kirkuk was painted to appear as though it was a police car, and the militants who sought to seize the compound were dressed as policemen, witnesses said.
The attack shattered a relative calm in recent days in Iraq, which has been grappling with a political crisis pitting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against his erstwhile government partners amid weeks of ongoing protests calling for him to resign, less than three months before key provincial elections.
No organisation immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Sunni militants including al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq frequently target security forces and government targets in a bid to destabilise the country and push it back towards the sectarian bloodshed that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.
The initial suicide car bomb was set off during morning rush hour, and was quickly followed by three gunmen dressed in police uniforms, armed with hand grenades and suicide vests, bursting through the main gate of the Kirkuk police compound in the direction of the headquarters building.
They threw multiple grenades as they sought to reach the building, but were killed before they could get there, witnesses said.