A suicide bomber who drove a car packed with explosives blew himself up to pieces in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region on Wednesday, leading to the death of at least five people in the first big attack there in more than a year. Reuters reports:
Mayor Nihad Latif Koja told Reuters the assailant had detonated himself as he tried to enter the governor’s compound, which is protected by blast walls, in the center of Arbil.
Explosions are a regular occurrence in the federal capital Baghdad and other cities outside Kurdistan but the autonomous region has largely managed to insulate itself from the violence convulsing the rest of the country.
Islamic State militants who overran swathes of northern Iraq this summer have repeatedly threatened to launch attacks against the Kurds, who are fighting them along a front line stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles).
Footage from the scene in Arbil after the mid-morning attack showed charred vehicles and blood smeared on the cobbles outside the governor’s office. Windows on the opposite side of the street had been shattered by the force of the blast.