The site of one of the bombings which targeted Kirkuk on Saturday night, March 24, 2018. Photo: Social media
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Three bomb blasts went off in two different areas of Kirkuk on Saturday, wounding six, according to officials.
Afrasiyaw Kamil, spokesperson for Kirkuk Police, announced that “four people were wounded” in the first bombing near the governorate building in front of Plaza Hotel.
He said the wounded were immediately rushed to hospital.
Kirkuk Police have launched an investigation into the incident, he said.
Two further bombs, thought to be stun grenades, were detonated in front of a cafeteria on Qudis Street in the Tiseen neighborhood, lightly wounding two.
Security in the Kirkuk region has recently deteriorated, leading local forces to reconsider their response.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Shiite paramilitaries Hashd al-Shaabi are to be deployed on the main Kirkuk-Baghdad road following the reported killing of a number of Hashd fighters by ISIS militants.
Ali al-Husseini, spokesperson of Hashd al-Shaabi in Kirkuk, announced its forces had devised a new security plan in southern Kirkuk province to prevent the reemergence of ISIS militants in the region.
“The Rapid Response Force, Federal Police, Hashd al-Shaabi have begun providing security on the Kirkuk-Baghdad road, which starts from Daquq town stretching to Tuz Khurmatu and Sarha bridge,” Husseini said.
Photos circulated on social media on Saturday showing a number of ISIS militants killing eight federal policemen in a remote area.
According to reports, the Iraqi policemen had been captured on the Kirkuk road.
Kirkuk province came under the control of Iraqi army and Shiite militias on October 16 after the Kurdish Peshmerga pulled out in the face of a major incursion into the city.
Despite Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration in early December that the war with ISIS had been won in Iraq, the group’s sleeper cells have in recent months increased their hit and run operations against Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries. ISIS killed 27 Hashd fighters in mid-February.
Since then, the Iraqi army and Iran-backed Shiite militants have launched a number of military operations against the remaining ISIS elements in the Kirkuk region.