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Car bomb kills three in Iraq’s Kirkuk

A car bomb explosion targeting shops selling alcohol in Iraq ’ s northern city of Kirkuk on Saturday killed three civilians and wounded nine , a security official said.

He said the blast damaged the shops and sparked a fire in three vehicles .

Kirkuk is the capital of the oil-rich province of the same name which is disputed by the federal government in Baghdad and the autonomous region of Kurdistan .

The blast comes as Kurdish leaders prepare to hold an independence referendum on September 25 in the face of fierce opposition from Baghdad and the Kurds ’ international backers .

The Kurdish Regional Government is embroiled in long -standing disputes with the federal government over oil exports , budget payments and control of ethnically divided areas .

On Thursday, the Baghdad parliament fired the governor of Kirkuk province, Najm Eddine Karim , over his provincial council’ s decision to take part in the non -binding referendum .

Kirkuk , which is home to diverse communities including Arabs and Turkmen who oppose the vote, is under the authority of the Baghdad federal government.

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