A bodyguard was killed in Kirkuk today when a car bomb exploded that was presumably intended for a passing politician’s convoy. Other members of the group were reported to be wounded with varying levels severity. At last count there were 12 injured and 1 killed. The attack happened in the Khazrayi district that is situated in the southwest section of the city near a car dealership. An official for the Kirkuk local police, Lt. Col. Afrasiaw Kamil Waisi, confirmed the information that the candidate who was attacked was, Enver Fahri Kerimpart, member of the Turkman Front political party.

A member of parliament in the Iraqi central government, Turkman Front member Aydin Maruf told reporters that, “While a candidate of ours named Amar Kahiya was an automobile sales lot in the Khazra neighborhood in the south of Kirkuk, a car exploded, our candidate’s bodyguard was injured, and a citizen was martyred.” The attack took place only a day after campaigning began for the upcoming Iraq parliament elections in May. Members of the various political parties in Kurdistan are set to be traveling through the region in an attempt to garner votes from local residents. So far, no one person or organization has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

The security situation in Kirkuk is at a new low due to the thin spread of Iraqi security forces and lack of supply. The Kurdish Peshmerga were pushed out of Kirkuk in October but are currently working to cooperate with Iraq in returning to merge forces and stabilize the region. The Turkish government’s ministry of foreign affairs stated that they “strongly condemned” the attack targeting the Turkman Front’s deputy candidate. The Turkish government has asked the Iraqi government and its representatives to proceed in preventing more attacks in the future in light of the, “intensification and increasing attacks.” Many of Kirkuk’s residents have complained of the lack of a security presence. The Kirkuk security forces allegedly returned to their outposts in the evening, leaving the roads unsecured and outlying towns vulnerable. The Islamic State elements have executed random attacks throughout the region over the last few months and locals are ready for a solution.

Featured Image Courtesy of  Levi Clancy [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons