Kirkuk, Iraq was rocked by two suicide bombers that killed at least five people and wounded another 20 more. The city, in the northeast area of Iraq, was the scene of a battle between Islamic State fighters and the Iraqi government troops before another confrontation in October when Iraqi government and Shiite militias moved quickly into the city to retake control from Kurdish peshmerga fighters. The Kurdish Regional Government held an Independence Referendum in September.
An official speaking on condition of anonymity said the attackers struck near a former police station used by Saraya al-Salam, a Shiite paramilitary force led by powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The Kurds claim the PMU, the paramilitary force is nothing more than a tool of Iran, whose goal is to destabilize the region and give Tehran undue influence in Iraq.
The two explosions in Atlas Street, a key shopping street, were reportedly about 15 minutes apart.
Nearly 93 percent of the vote favored breaking away from Iraq in the referendum vote and the Iraqi government wasted little time in moving in federal troops and Shiite militias (PMU) into the oil-rich province and the regional capital.
The two sides were once unified in the fight against the Islamist State. When Iraqi government forces were being pushed out of Kirkuk by ISIS fighters, it was the Kurdish peshmerga who helped solidify the area.
The peshmerga also played a key role with the government in liberating the city of Mosul.
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