Bomb explosion kills two members of pro-Iranian militia in Iraq

The incident is the latest in a series of operations against the Popular Mobilisation Forces, which blame ISIS for the attacks

KIRKUK, IRAQ: Pedestrians walk past a stall selling pigeons in the bazaar in Kirkuk.

Kirkuk is an ethnically diverse city in which there is often tension and outbreaks of violence.

Photo by Ali Arkady/Metrography
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A roadside bomb this week killed two members of a militia division of the Iraqi government in the northern oil-producing province of Kirkuk, the Iraqi news agency said.

The official news agency said six militiamen were also wounded in the explosion on Monday that hit a vehicle carrying members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces in the Kirkuk village of Balkaneh.

It was the latest in an increasing number of attacks against the PMF, an umbrella term for the mostly Shiite militias dominated by Iranian-backed groups. The militias blame ISIS for the attacks, although in many cases there have been no claims of responsibility.

The population of Kirkuk is one of Iraq’s most diverse, and territorial disputes between Turkmen, Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis have contributed to recurring violence in the province since the US-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The authorities said last week that a bomb killed three women and wounded three policemen in Diyala province to the south of Kirkuk.

They said the women were riding a three-wheeled vehicle – known as a satuta – north of the city of Baquba, when the roadside bomb exploded. A second bomb went off when police arrived at the scene.

Diyala is a rural region that borders Iran and is a main supply route for PMF formations.