Two car bombs struck a disputed northern Iraqi city on Wednesday, part of a series of attacks across the country that left at least nine people, including two children dead, officials said.

Kirkuk deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef said a parked car bomb went off in the city center at around 3 p.m., killing three civilians and injuring eight. An hour later, another parked bomb exploded in the same area and killed four more - two children and their parents as they were traveling in a car nearby.

Provincial Health Directorate chief Sidiq Omar Rasool confirmed the casualty figures.

Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen, who all have competing claims to the oil-rich area. The Kurds want to incorporate it into their self-rule region in Iraq’s north, but Arabs and Turkomen are opposed.

Suicide bomber

In the town of Tarmiyah, some 50 km (30 miles) north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a police patrol, killing two policemen and injuring eight people, a police official said.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release information.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks but car and suicide bombings are a hallmark of al-Qaida’s Iraq branch.

Violence has ebbed across Iraq since the peak of the fighting in the last decade, but deadly attacks still occur almost daily. Insurgents routinely target Iraqi police, government officials and civilians in an attempt to undermine Iraq’s government or to exacerbate political tension.

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