Iraq attacks kill at least 12

Attacks in Iraq including a string of bombings against Shiite places of worship and a car bomb at a Kurdish political office killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 75 on Sunday, officials said.

Two car bombs and seven roadside bombs targeted two Shiite places of worship, known as husseiniyahs, in the north Iraq city of Kirkuk, one in the city's north and another in its south, a senior police officer told AFP.

Doctor Jassem Abed from Kirkuk General Hospital said the blasts killed eight people -- four women, two children and two men -- and wounded 55.

Oil-rich and ethnically mixed Kirkuk is part of a swathe of territory in north Iraq that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate, over the strong objections of Baghdad.

Also on Sunday, a car bomb exploded at the local headquarters of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party in the town of Jalawla in Diyala province, after a number of people seeking to join the Kurdish peshmerga security forces had gathered there, a police officer said.

The blast in Jalawla, which like Kirkuk lies in disputed territory, killed two recruits and wounded 13, the officer and a doctor at Jalawla Hospital said.

The dispute over territory in northern Iraq is the greatest threat to the country's long-term stability, diplomats and officials say. Ties between Baghdad and Kurdistan are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.

In Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, gunmen armed with automatic weapons attacked an army checkpoint, killing at least two soldiers and wounding at least three, an interior ministry official and a police officer said.

And a car bomb wounded a policeman and three civilians in Baiji, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the capital, security and medical sources said.

While violence has decreased significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks still occur almost every day in Iraq.

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