Two explosions hit Khurmatu town, southern Kirkuk
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Saturday, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeted the town of Khurmatu located in the south of Kirkuk Province, according to Khurmatu security.
Kurdistan24 reporter Hemin Dallo stated that the VBIED exploded outside of the Kurdish political party office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Head of Khurmatu security Faruq Ahmad told Kurdistan24 that the explosion took place at 11:30 a.m. local time, killing three and wounding 12 people in the area.
He mentioned that since the deployment of Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi in the town, Khurmatu’s security has been at risk as explosions have increased.
Ahmad warned that the militia is incapable of fully securing the areas they are responsible for protecting.
The Kurdistan24 reporter also stated that several buildings nearby were extensively damaged by the explosion.
The Deputy Head of PUK office in Khurmatu, Hassan Baram, also pointed to Hashd al-Shaabi’s weakness. He told Kurdistan24 that the militia often creates security gaps in the town for being completely unable to protect their locations.
Baram noted that Khurmatu security is investigating Islamic State (IS) sleeper cells in the town. He said that security recently arrested a group found with different kinds of weapons in their homes.
Additionally, Ahmad stated that the second explosion targeted the Turkmen political bureau office in Khurmatu, damaging the building, but causing no casualties.
On Friday, a VBIED targeted a Peshmerga security checkpoint in the same town. However, Kurdish forces detonated the danger far away resulting in the injury of a truck driver nearby the scene.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Hemin Dallo contributed to this report)