Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2007 The blast at a Kirkuk bus terminal injures 25 and burns shops and cars. Farther south, a group of sheiks is abducted.
By Christian Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomber killed seven people and wounded 25 in the disputed northern city of Kirkuk on Sunday, targeting a crowded bus terminal heavily used by travelers to the provinces that form the semiautonomous Kurdistan region, police and witnesses said.
Ten shops and 15 cars were set ablaze by the afternoon explosion.
"It was a suicide car; the driver detonated himself in front of a civilian crowd next to the bus terminal," said witness Rebowar Mohammad, 32. "I was close to the explosion. There was thick, dark smoke covering the place."
He and other witnesses helped rush the injured to a hospital in their cars.
Kirkuk lies on the border of the Kurdish region, and Kurds are hoping to annex the city and its oil-rich environs into their territory. But Sunni and Shiite Arabs, including many moved there by the late former President Saddam Hussein to make the region more "Arab," are opposed to annexation.
On Saturday night in Kirkuk, police said gunmen kidnapped an editor of Akhaa, a weekly magazine covering Turkmen arts and affairs in Iraq. Just southwest, in the town of Hawija, gunmen killed an Iraqi police officer.
Farther south, 11 tribal sheiks and a Shiite Muslim cleric were abducted on their way from Baghdad to their homes near Baqubah in Diyala province. The Sunni and Shiite sheiks, who have formed a grass-roots group to fight the presence of Islamist militants in their region, were returning from a meeting in the U.S.-protected Green Zone, according to Iraqi police. They were intercepted by gunmen in sedans after passing through a checkpoint as they left the capital.
A car bomb in Baghdad killed three people and wounded 10 in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Kadhimiya, police said. The bodies of five men shot to death were found on the streets of the capital, authorities said.
In southern Iraq, the newly elected leader of the election commission in Basra was killed when gunmen stormed his house Saturday night. Times staff writers Usama Redha and Raheem Salman in Baghdad and a special correspondent in Kirkuk contributed to this story.