Iraqi restaurant blast kills 50
A suicide bomber has killed at least 50 people at a restaurant near the
northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a regional official has told the BBC.
Around 100 people were
also injured in the blast at the Kurdish restaurant, some 5km (three
miles) north of the ethnically mixed city, police say.
Kurdish officials were in the restaurant having lunch with Arab tribal leaders
at the time.
The blast came as Muslims celebrated the Eid-al-Adha holiday.
Families were eating lunch in the Abdullah restaurant, located on the main road
to Irbil, when it happened.
A suicide bomber activated an explosives belt in the middle of the restaurant,
officials and at least one witness say.
A branch of the same restaurant in Kirkuk was hit by a car bomb last year, with
25 people killed.
Relations in Kirkuk have often been tense between Iraqi Arabs, Kurds and
A restaurant guard said the explosion had happened shortly after a man
had parked his car outside and walked into the building.
The injured were taken to Kirkuk's main hospital, with 30 of them in a
serious condition, an AFP news agency reporter says.
As the authorities appealed for blood donors, the reporter met families
bereaved by the blast.
Outside the emergency room, a five-year-old boy was crying, saying he had lost
both of his parents.
Reskiya Oji, a 49-year-old Turkmen who was wounded in the arm and the
leg, said from a hospital bed that her daughter, four, had been killed
and she did not know the fate of her two sons.
Rezkar Mahmoud, a 24-year-old Kurd who was wounded in
the leg, said he had been having lunch with his father, wife and
"The restaurant was full when the bomb exploded," he said. "It sent glass
flying and destroyed the walls.
"I don't know where my children and my father are."
At the restaurant, the floor was littered with broken glass and spotted
with blood while plates of food and soft drinks cans stood abandoned on
The deputy head of Kirkuk's provincial council, Rebwar Talabani, said the
restaurant had been popular with politicians.
"It was packed with people who go there because it's safer [than other
restaurants]," he told al-Jazeera TV.
"All kinds of people would go there, even politicians would hold their big
The deputy governor of Kirkuk, Saeed Rakan, told the BBC Arabic service
that the attack appeared to have been politically motivated.
A Patriotic Union of Kurdistan delegation was meeting councillors from
the al-Hawija area, he said, adding: "I think al-Hawija councillors
were the target. A number of them sustained light injuries. The
bodyguards of al-Hawija council chairman were badly injured."
Although violent incidents in Iraq as a whole have
dropped sharply this year, the area around the northern cities of
Kirkuk and Mosul remains dangerous, the BBC's Humphrey Hawksley reports
Tension is so high in Kirkuk that provincial elections
planned for most of Iraq next year will not be held in the city, our
Control of oil-rich Kirkuk is disputed between Iraqi Arabs, Kurds and ethnic
Iraqi Kurds believe they should control the city, which has a Kurdish
majority, but it lies outside their semi-autonomous northern enclave.
Ethnic Arabs and Turkmens say it should be under the control of the central
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/12/11 19:40:40 GMT
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