At least 30 people were killed in a double bombing targeting the offices of a Kurdish political party in the northern Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmato, officials said on Monday.
Security sources said a car bomb blew up at a checkpoint near the local headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, before a truck packed with explosives was detonated beside a wall. The attack is the latest in a show of strength by militants who have been regaining ground in Iraq. On Sunday, militants killed 18 people in twin blasts targeting PUK offices in the town of Jalawla.
The Sunni militant Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) said it was behind that attack and also claimed responsibility for the bombing on Monday, crediting a suicide bomber whose name indicates he was Egyptian. A further 185 people were wounded in the blasts, the force of which destroyed many buildings in the area. Sources said more bodies were likely to be found beneath the debris.
A 55-year old man who was being rushed to hospital in the city of Kirkuk on a stretcher, his white robes drenched with blood, said he was returning from the market in Tuz Khurmato when one of the bombs exploded around 200 meters away from him. “The wall of one of the houses nearby fell on me. It hurt my back and my legs. I started screaming and people came to my rescue and pulled me out from under the collapsed wall. All my limbs were broken,” he said.
Tuz Khurmato is around 170 km (100 miles) north of the capital Baghdad and lies in territory that both the federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan region claim as theirs. Both are a target for Sunni Islamist insurgents who in recent days overran two major cities, occupied a university campus in western Iraq, and set off a dozen car bombs in Baghdad.
Nearly 800 people were killed across the country in May alone, in the highest monthly toll this year so far. Last year was Iraq’s deadliest since violence began to ease from a peak between 2006 and 2007.
Report compiled with information from Reuters.