Iraq truck bomb in oil-rich Kirkuk kills 22 | world | Hindustan Times
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Iraq truck bomb in oil-rich Kirkuk kills 22

A truck bomb killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in a town south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Saturday, the bloodiest attack to hit Iraq in a month, officials said.

world Updated: Jun 20, 2009 17:55 IST

A truck bomb killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in a town south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Saturday, the bloodiest attack to hit Iraq in a month, officials said.

The attack struck near a mosque in Taza, a predominantly Turkmen Shiite town, at around 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) and claimed women and children among its victims, the head of the morgue at Kirkuk hospital said.

"We have received 22 bodies and dozens of wounded from the bombing," Ibrahim Mahmoud told AFP. Major Salam Zangana of Iraqi police also said 22 people were killed, and said 125 were wounded, many of them seriously.

The attack, which took place around 400 metres (yards) from the Shiite Al-Rasoul mosque, also seriously damaged dozens of houses, with police saying that many victims could still be under the rubble. An AFP reporter at the scene said the bomb left a deep hole in the ground.

It is the bloodiest attack in Iraq since May 20, when a car bomb tore through a Baghdad street full of diners, killing 40 people and wounding 83.

The Taza bombing comes barely a week ahead of a deadline for US troops to withdraw from Iraq's cities, towns and villages as part of a landmark security accord signed between Washington and Baghdad in November.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned earlier this month that insurgents and militias would likely step up their attacks in the coming weeks in a bid to undermine confidence in Iraq's own security forces.

Violence has dropped markedly in Iraq in recent months, with May seeing the lowest Iraqi death toll since the 2003 invasion. But attacks remain common, particularly in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.

Oil-rich Kirkuk is plagued with intercommunal tensions among its Kurdish, Turkmen and Arab communities.