SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car Thursday near a bank where policemen were picking up their paychecks in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing two people and wounding as many as 60, officials said.
Kirkuk police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said a policeman and a civilian died in the blast, and that most of the wounded were policemen.
Col. Salam Zangna, a security official in Kirkuk Hospital, confirmed the deaths and said about 60 others had been injured.
"My children are waiting for me to come with the salary today in order to buy school bags and stationary," policeman Mirwan Sadiq said. "Instead the family will receive sad news about me."
He had been standing in line near the bank's front door when the blast knocked him down and into a wall. He was among those wounded in the attack.
"These merciless terrorists do not differentiate between military and civilians," Sadiq added.
Kirkuk is located 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad. The city has for years been rife with tensions among Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkomen who all claim rights to the oil-rich land.
Security officials across Iraq are often the target of deadly attacks — in part because militants accuse them of working with U.S. forces who are training them. Attacks on security forces have stepped up in recent years as extremists attempt to highlight Iraq's continued vulnerability ahead of a planned U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of the year.
A police officer was also killed Thursday by gunmen on a motorbike in Baghdad, officials said.
Separately, an employee for Iraq's government-run TV channel died Thursday from gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack late Wednesday, police and hospital officials said. Officials in Baghdad spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.