Car Bombs Kill 12 in Iraqi Oil Hub of Kirkuk, Police Say

Car bombs killed 12 people in Iraq’s northern oil hub of Kirkuk, including seven recruits slain in a blast while waiting outside the police headquarters of state-run North Oil Co., security officials said.

“The explosion didn’t affect the production and export operations because it happened outside the company’s headquarters,” Oil Police Colonel Ghanim al-Quraishi said today in a telephone interview from Kirkuk. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, according to North Oil’s police.

A separate attack in Tuz Khormato district killed three people, while two others died in a blast in al-Haweeja district, police in Kirkuk said in an e-mailed statement. The suicide car bomb at North Oil wounded 17 recruits, Aywa Salah, a North Oil police colonel, said by phone from Kirkuk. An additional 39 people were hurt in the other two explosions, according to local police.

Iraq, the largest producer, after Saudi Arabia, in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumps crude oil from fields near Kirkuk for export through a pipeline to the port of Ceyhan, Turkey. Kirkuk lies adjacent to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and is claimed by Kurdish authorities, though the central government in Baghdad controls the city. The oil-export pipeline from Kirkuk has been a frequent target of sabotage since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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