Police say car bomb targeting a liquor store overnight in northern Iraq killed 12 people

A senior police officer in Iraq says a car bomb targeting a liquor store in the country's north has killed at least 12 civilians.

Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef, a deputy police chief in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, said Sunday that the bomb exploded in the city's western al-Wasiti neighborhood. Youssef said the blast wounded 29.

Kirkuk is located 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad.

Militants often target night clubs, liquor stores and brothels. They want to impose a strict interpretation of Islam in Iraq.

The attack comes as Iraq's Shiite-led government is struggling to contain a surge in sectarian violence unseen since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007 after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Sadaam Hussein.