BAQUBA, (Xinhua): At least 20 people were killed and some 30 others wounded in Iraq’s Diyala province on Monday when a suicide bomb attacked the Kurdish civilians celebrating sick Iraqi President Jalal Talabani casting his vote, a provincial police source said.
The attack occurred in the city of Khanaqin, some 165 km northeast of the capital Baghdad. A suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest among a group of Kurdish people who gathered in front of the office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party led by Talabani. The death toll could rise.
The Kurdish people were celebrating while watching a video showing the Kurdish Iraqi president, who has been in Germany recovering from a stroke since the end of 2012, was casting his vote in early polls of Wednesday’s nationwide parliamentary election.
It’s the second day of a two-day voting for Iraqi expatriates in 19 countries in the Middle East, Europe and North America to cast their ballots for a new parliament.
The ethnically mixed city of Khanaqin is part of the areas in dispute between the Kurds, who want to annex it to their autonomous region, and the authorities in Baghdad.
More than 9,000 candidates from nearly 280 political entities are vying for Iraq’s 328 parliamentary seats in Wednesday’s general election, the first since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country at the end of 2011.