IRBIL, Iraq, Aug 22, (Agencies): A juvenile wouldbe suicide bomber was apprehended in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before he was able to detonate his explosive belt, Iraqi police said Monday. Local television footage aired on Kurdistan 24 TV shows a group of police officers holding the young boy while two men are seen cutting off a belt of explosives. After they remove the belt, the boy is seen being rushed into a police truck and driven away.
Also Monday, a British contractor working for an American demining firm was killed while defusing an explosive device in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. The firm, Janus Global Operations, announced the death Monday without providing further details. The British Embassy in Baghdad and the Anbar Provincial Council also confirmed the incident.
The demining firm began operations in Ramadi in April, after Iraqi forces liberated the city from the Islamic State group, which left behind thousands of explosive devices. Dozens of Iraqi civilians have been killed by explosions while trying to return to their homes in the city, much of which was destroyed in the fighting. The would-be boy bomber in Kirkuk was apprehended on Sunday night, less than an hour after a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in the city, Kirkuk police department spokesman Col. Avrasiya Kamil Wais told The Associated Press. In the mosque attack, only the bomber died and two people were wounded. “The boy claimed during interrogation that he had been kidnapped by masked men who put the explosives on him and sent him to the area,” said Kirkuk intelligence official Brig. Chato Fadhil Humadi.
The boy, Humadi added, was displaced from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, by recent military operations in the area. He arrived in Kirkuk a week ago, Humadi said. The boy’s name is known to the police, but the AP does not identify minors who may be victims of abuse or suspected in violent crimes. Islamic State group’s media arm, the Aamaq news agency, on Monday claimed responsibility for the mosque bombing, but made no statement about the boy. Kirkuk, an oil rich city in Iraq’s north is claimed by both Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish region. Kirkuk has seen a rise in ethnic tensions following the Islamic State group’s blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014. I
raqi security forces largely withdrew from Kirkuk and Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga took control of the city. Since then, Shiite militia fighters have also massed around the city. The area is home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen who all have competing territorial claims. The Kurds have long wanted to incorporate the city into their semi-autonomous region, but Iraq’s central government opposes this. A British national working for a US company clearing ordnance in the Iraqi city of Ramadi was killed Monday as he tried to defuse a bomb, officials said. “We’ve just been made aware that there has been a British national killed in Ramadi,” a British embassy spokesperson told AFP.
The mayor of Ramadi, which is the capital of the western Anbar province and was retaken by Iraqi forces from the Islamic State group earlier this year, confirmed the incident. “A contractor of British origin was killed and another wounded as they attempted to defuse an IED (improvised explosive device) in the Malaab neighbourhood,” Ibrahim al-Osej told AFP. He did not specify the nationality of the wounded contractor.
The contract for clearing the thousands of improvised explosive devices and booby- traps the jihadists left behind in Ramadi was awarded to US company Janus. A senior Anbar police official also confirmed the incident but Janus would not immediately comment. Rigging homes and planting bombs on roads was a key component of the system IS set up to defend the city, which lies about 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Baghdad.