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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Woman killed in Kirkuk bombing  

Bomb went off near a mosque in a crowded market area

The Iraqi city of Kirkuk and its surrounding oilfields has been at the centre of a battle between rival groups in Iraq. Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
The Iraqi city of Kirkuk and its surrounding oilfields has been at the centre of a battle between rival groups in Iraq. Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

At least one woman was killed and 14 people including women and children were wounded late on Friday when a bomb exploded in the ethnically-mixed Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, the military said.

The improvised explosive device went off near a mosque in a crowded market area in the evening, a peak shopping time during Ramadan. A second explosive device went off near a coffee shop, injuring one man, the military said.

A missile was also fired at a school but there were no casualties, a military statement said.

Tensions are high in Kirkuk, where the results of a parliamentary election in May are being disputed by the Turkmen and Arab communities after a Kurdish party appeared to have won.

In October, Iraqi forces backed by Shiite militias dislodged Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who had taken control of Kirkuk city in 2014. The Kurdish Peshmerga move had prevented the city's capture by Islamic State militants who had overrun Iraqi army positions in northern and western Iraq.

The central government recaptured the city and its oilfields along with other areas in northern Iraq claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds following an offensive launched in retaliation for a Kurdish independence referendum.

The return of the Iraqi army to Kirkuk was greeted with relief by the Arab and Turkmen populations there but the city's Kurds accuse Iraqi government forces and Shiite militias of violations.

Islamic State militants have also carried out attacks in the city as well as other parts of Iraq in recent weeks and months.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December. But security officials have said the hardline militant group is likely to wage an insurgency in Iraq after its self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed and the militants were dislodged from all the territory they held in the country