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Police: Bomb kills 2 in northern Iraq

A car bomb blast Wednesday wounded a judge who oversees terror cases, killing two people and injuring 15 others, in a northern Iraqi city that is rife with ethnic tensions.

The explosion went off just as Judge Aziz Ibrahim was arriving at his office near a police station in downtown Kirkuk, said Police Col. Sherzad Mofari. Besides the judge, two of his bodyguards were among the wounded, and three policemen also were injured, Mofari said.

Kirkuk is located some 290 kilometers (175 miles) north of Baghdad. The blast also set at least one shop on fire and knocked people to the ground.

Ibrahim is a criminal court judge and handles terror cases in Kirkuk, a flashpoint of violence — in part because its population is ethnically divided among Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen. Each group claims the right to control the city and the oil-rich lands around it.

A few hours later, a second bomb exploded, apparently targeting an electricity line between Kirkuk and the Sunni-dominated town of Hawija, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the west. Authorities said no injuries were reported, but power was cut in several nearby villages.