Middle East

Rare bombing in Iraq Kurdish region targets general

Members of the Iraqi army listen to a speech by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during a political meeting to talk about the ongoing fighting between security forces and al-Qaeda-linked groups in the Anbar province, on January 11, 2014, in Baghdad. AFP PHOTO/SABAH ARAR

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq: A bombing targeting a general in northern Iraq Sunday damaged his vehicle but left him unharmed, an official said, the latest of several attacks in the normally peaceful Kurdish region in recent months.

The magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to Brigadier General Bakhtiyar Fayikh's car detonated around 8:00 am (0500 GMT) outside his home in eastern Sulaimaniyah, the second-biggest city in the three-province autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Fayikh is a member of the asayesh, Kurdistan's internal security force.

Asayesh spokesman Rizgar Hama Amin said the blast damaged Fayikh's car but left him unharmed, while Fayikh himself told journalists the blast was a "terrorist operation".

In early December, two near-simultaneous sticky bombs wounded two other senior Kurdish security officers, while a massive assault on asayesh headquarters in the Kurdish capital Arbil on September 29, later claimed by an Al-Qaeda-linked group, killed seven people.

Swathes of Iraq are still plagued by near-daily violence more than 10 years after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. More than 6,800 people were killed as a result of violence last year, and more than 400 have already died this year, according to an AFP tally.

Unlike some areas of Iraq that saw bloody Sunni-Shiite sectarian unrest after the invasion, religiously and ethnically homogenous Kurdistan was largely spared the violence and is mostly insulated from the bloodshed in other, Arab-dominated regions of the country.

The Kurdish region largely operates autonomously of Baghdad, with its own security forces -- made up of the peshmerga and asayesh -- and has its own parliament and visa regime.





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