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    Monday, 2 July 2018

    Suicide bombing wounds 19 at Iraq ballot warehouse

    A suicide car bombing Sunday targeting a warehouse in Kirkuk where ballot boxes from Iraq’s May elections were stored killed one person, two days before a vote recount, a security source said.
    Another 20 people were wounded in the explosion. The warehouse holding the ballot boxes was not damaged, the sources said.
    “Nine policemen, six members of a counter-terrorist unit and four civilians were wounded when a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber exploded at the main gate of the warehouse,” another source said.
    The building was damaged by the blast but the ballot boxes were unaffected, said Rakan Al-Juburi, the governor of Kirkuk north of Baghdad.
    Iraq’s supreme court has ordered a manual vote recount in polling stations where results from the May legislative elections were contested following allegations of fraud.
    Iraq’s parliamentary election in May was clouded by allegations of fraud. On Saturday a judges’ panel announced that a recount of votes mandated by the Iraqi Parliament and the courts was to kick off on Tuesday, starting with Kirkuk.
    The driver detonated the vehicle before reaching the entrance of the warehouse after officers guarding the facility opened fire, the police sources said.
    Iraqi leader Moqtada Al-Sadr’s electoral list came first in the national election which saw a historically low turnout, as long-time political figures were pushed out by voters seeking change in a country mired in conflict and corruption. After weeks of negotiations on forming a government, Al-Sadr formed an alliance with Prime Minister Haider Abadi, whose electoral list came third and with second-placed Iran ally Hadi Al-Amiri’s bloc.
    The vote recount is expected to begin on Tuesday in the Kurdish provinces of Irbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, as well as in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Anbar, the spokesman of the electoral commission said on Saturday.
    In early June, a storage site holding half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes went up in flames in an incident Abadi described as a “plot to harm the nation and its democracy.”
    Kurdish rebels killed
    The Turkish military killed eight Kurdish militants in airstrikes in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey at the weekend, it said on Sunday.
    The air strikes were carried out on northern Iraq’s Zap region and Turkey’s southeastern provinces of Sirnak and Van, the military tweeted.
    Turkey has stepped up strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq, especially its stronghold in the Qandil mountains. Ankara has said it may launch a ground offensive into Qandil, where it believes high-ranking PKK members are based.
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