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Suicide Bombers Kill 80 in Northern Iraqi City of Kirkuk


16 July 2007

Iraqi police say a suicide truck bomber has killed at least 80 people in the ethnically-divided northern city of Kirkuk.

The bomber Monday drove his truck past security barriers next to an office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Police say the blast wounded more than 180 people. They warned that the death toll could rise.

Two other car bombs also exploded in Kirkuk after the first attack, killing one police officer and wounding four people.

Ethnic Kurdish leaders want to absorb Kirkuk into their autonomous region but Arab and Turkmen residents oppose the move.

In other violence Monday, a roadside bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad. Also, mortar shells hit a residential area in southern Baghdad, killing at least two civilians.

U.S. forces say thousands of troops launched a new offensive in southern Baghdad today with the aim of cutting off the flow of weapons and militants into the capital.

The new sweep, called Marne Avalanche, is the latest around Baghdad as part of the so-called "surge" of 28,000 additional American troops.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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