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Friday, May 20, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S., British withdrawal from Iraq marked by simultaneous bombings in northern oil capital

BAGHDAD — Iraq's security forces have been struck by simultaneous bombings in the north.


At least 30 people were killed and nearly 100 injured when the northern city of Kirkuk was struck by two explosions. Most of the casualties, the highest since March 29, were identified as police, killed in an attack on the parking lot of Kirkuk police headquarters on May 19.

The attack took place as the British and U.S. militaries were winding down their training and support operations in Iraq. On May 22, the British military was scheduled to end training for the Iraq Navy in the south of the country.

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"The majority of the casualties were police," Kirkuk Health Department Sadiq Omar Rasul said.

Kirkuk has been a flashpoint amid rising sectarian tensions in Iraq. The city, deemed the northern oil capital, was the target of a struggle between Kurds and Sunnis, particularly ethnic Turks.

About an hour after the police bombing, a senior official was targeted by a car bomb in Kirkuk. Col. Aras Mohammed and 13 of his bodyguards were injured in the explosion.

Most of the attacks were attributed to Al Qaida. In March, Al Qaida fighters struck the provincial council in Tikrit, in which 58 people were killed.

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