Bombings hit Iraq oil company headquarters

10 September 2012

Court also sentences Sunni vice president to death

A series of bombings killed dozens of people in Iraq yesterday, hitting 10 cities across the country, and including an attack on the offices of state-owned North Oil Company (NOC) in the city of Kirkuk.

At least 34 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the blasts, according to Khamees al-Saad, Iraq’s deputy health minister, quoted by Bloomberg.

A suicide attack at the NOC compound killed 7 and wounded 17 more, all were police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs at the oil firm. The ethnically mixed city is at the centre of disputes between Arabs and Kurds. Controlled by the federal government in Baghdad, the city is claimed by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government as an integral part of its territory.

The attacks come on the same day that Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, a prominent Sunni Muslim, was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to death.

Al-Hashemi was accused in February of running a paramilitary death squad, which carried out attacks on political opponents and security officials over the past six years. Al-Hashemi, who has fled Iraq, denies the charges, calling them part of a witch-hunt against opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. With Al-Hashemi currently in Turkey, the trial was held in absentia.

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