ARBIL (Iraq), May 13: A suicide bomber killed at least 50 people on Sunday when he ploughed his explosives-laden SUV into local administrative offices in the northern Iraqi town of Makhmur, officials said.
The new toll for those killed is 50, said Kurdish regional health minister Zirian Abdel Rahman, adding that the toll could be higher since not everyone was evacuated to the hospital in the regional capital of Arbil.
“All the dead are men, but there are women and children among the 115 wounded,” he told reporters, adding that many of the wounded were in serious condition.
Police said the bomber hit a compound housing Makhmur's local administration and the offices of two Kurdish political parties.
“We were holding a meeting in my office when there was an explosion outside, which smashed the windows,” said Abdel Rahman Bilaf, the mayor of Makhmur, which lies 300 kilometres north of Baghdad.
Bilaf was speaking as he was treated for cuts to his face in a hospital in the city of Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
“A man in an army officer's uniform driving a Chevrolet four-by-four pulled up and said he was expected at a meeting,” said wounded policeman Ziad Ibrahim.
“We let him in and he drove to straight to the party offices and the car exploded,” he explained, also speaking from his hospital bed. Police Brigadier General Mohammed Alwagaa told AFP from Mosul that a senior police officer was among those killed in the attack.
Makhmur is a mixed town on the border between the Kurdish region and Iraq's Nineveh province. Abdel Rahman said the compound was hosting a meeting of local officials when the attack took place.
The local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdish leader Massud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani were hit, and many local officials were among the wounded, police said.
Kurdish parties and security forces have become a target of choice for Sunni extremists, who accuse the minority population of collaborating with the US forces fighting the country's insurgency.--AFP