Explosions shake Iraqi Kurdish capital, 6 killed

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Militants killed six people in the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on Sunday, officials said, in a rare attack on an area usually spared violence plaguing the country.

Gunfire could be heard after the blasts in Arbil that wounded a further 36 people, according to the city's health directorate. The victims were believed to be members of the Iraqi Kurdish security forces, known as asayesh, according to Reuters.

A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the attack could have been linked to the war in neighboring Syria.

A senior Kurdish security official said two militants opened fire at the headquarters of the asayesh security service in Arbil, then entered and blew themselves up, reported Agence France-Presse.

While much of Iraq is plagued by near-daily violence that kills hundreds of people each month, the three-province Kurdistan region in the country's north has largely been spared the deadly unrest, reported AFP.

Sunday’s blasts were the first to hit Arbil since May 2007, when a truck bomb exploded near the same asayesh headquarters, killing 14 people and wounding more than 80.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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