Suicide bombing kills one, injures 19 at Iraq building with ballot boxes, days before recount

Members of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service arriving at the scene of a suicide attack in Kirkuk on July 1, 2018.
Members of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service arriving at the scene of a suicide attack in Kirkuk on July 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

KIRKUK, IRAQ (AFP, REUTERS) - A suicide bombing on Sunday (July 1) targeting a warehouse in Kirkuk where ballot boxes from Iraq's May elections were stored killed one person and 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 Mr 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 Shiite 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.

The driver detonated the vehicle before reaching the entrance of the warehouse after officers guarding the facility opened fire, the police sources said.

Mr Sadr's electoral list came first in the national election which saw a historically low turnout. After weeks of negotiations on forming a government, Mr Sadr formed an alliance with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose electoral list came third and with second-placed Iran ally Hadi al-Amiri's bloc.