KIRKUK: A suicide bombing on Sunday targeting a warehouse in Kirkuk where ballot boxes from Iraq’s May elections were stored wounded 19 people, days before a vote recount, a security source 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,” the 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.
The ballot was won by populist Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr’s electoral alliance with Communists, as long-time political figures were pushed out by voters seeking change in a country mired in conflict and corruption.
The vote recount is expected to begin on Tuesday in the Kurdish provinces of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, as well as in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Anbar, the spokesman of the electoral commission said on Saturday.
Iraq begins border fence with Syria to block IS
Iraq has begun building a fence along its border with Syria to stop IS militants crossing into the country, a border guards spokesman said on Sunday.
The frontier barrier includes a six-metre-wide trench and involves thermal cameras and drones scanning the border for militants attempting to cross from Syria.
Baghdad declared victory over IS at the end of last year, but the group holds pockets of territory in the vast deserts of eastern Syria and maintains its ability to strike inside Iraq.
Border spokesman Nayef said that experts from Baghdad’s ministry of defence and an anti-IS coalition spearheaded by the United States would come “to evaluate the effectiveness of the fence”.