ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A suicide car bomb in Kirkuk on Sunday targeted a warehouse holding paper ballots from the May 12 election, injuring at least 20 security forces personnel.
The attack took place early morning on the Kirkuk – Baghdad Street in southern Kirkuk Province. The car bomb attempted to breach the building storing election ballots but detonated when it hit the first gate, a security source told Kurdistan 24.
No ballot boxes were burnt or damaged in the attack, according to the source.
Ambulances rushed to the scene and transferred the victims to nearby hospitals.
A second explosion went off as an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted the same neighborhood. No one was wounded but the blast heavily damaged the area.
No group immediate claimed responsibility for the two attacks.
The blasts occurred one day after Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced a partial manual vote recount for the May 12 parliamentary election would begin on July 3.
In a statement on Saturday, Laiyth Jabir Hamza, the IHEC spokesperson, said the Commission would only do a partial manual vote recount. It would only involve districts and polling stations where results were challenged by multiple parties.
The manual recount will be carried in the IHEC’s offices in the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimani, Erbil, Duhok, Nineveh, Salahuddin, and Anbar, Hamza said.
Oil-rich and ethnically-diverse Kirkuk stands out among cases of alleged electoral fraud since it is claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
Soon after the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga and other security forces protected Kirkuk from attacks by the jihadist group. Following the region's controversial independence referendum held in September, Iraqi forces and Shia militias drove Kurdish forces from Kirkuk and other disputed territories.
Since then, the security situation has considerably deteriorated, with IS activities on the rise, including ambushes, kidnapping, suicide attacks, and execution-style killings.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Hemin Dalo and Soran Kamaran contributed to this report)