Explosion hits Kirkuk, gunmen attack liquor store in Baghdad

The security situation in Kirkuk has significantly deteriorated since the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias took over the disputed province from the Peshmerga in October.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A car bomb went off near a Shia mosque in a southern suburb of Kirkuk while unidentified gunmen attacked a liquor store in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, security sources and witnessed said on Thursday.

The security situation in Kirkuk has significantly deteriorated since the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias took over the disputed province from the Peshmerga in October.

Security sources said the blast occurred Thursday morning near the shrine of Khader Elias, causing damage to the holy site. There were no casualties reported.

Activist circulated pictures of the shrine which was damaged in the blast.
Activist circulated pictures of the shrine which was damaged in the blast.

A security source told Kurdistan 24 that the explosion took place in the town of Daquq south of Kirkuk.

 

Photo of the aftermath of the explosion circulating on social media.
Photo of the aftermath of the explosion circulating on social media.

The head of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Rebwar Talabani, has called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to hand over control of the security apparatus to the local police in a bid to stabilize the situation.

In Baghdad, unknown gunmen targeted a liquor store in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district last Wednesday night.

Witness told Kurdistan 24 that the attack was carried by a group of armed men in the corniche. There were no casualties, but some damage to the storefront was reported.

No one has claimed responsibility for either attack. Killings, robberies, kidnappings, and other criminal activities have been on the rise in Kirkuk since the takeover by Iraqi forces and Shia militias.

Baghdad and other Iraqi cities have in the past suffered through similar attacks, often carried out by members of Shia or Sunni militant groups.