Suicide bomb leaves 55 dead in Iraqi restaurant

kirkuk suicide attack

A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people Thursday in a restaurant near the city of Kirkuk, where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders, police said.

The attack in the “Abdullah” restaurant appeared to be the worst attack in Iraq since 63 people were killed by a truck bomb in Baghdad on June 17.

Police Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir, who gave the casualty figures, said the dead included at least five women and three children. About 120 people were wounded.

The restaurant was packed with families celebrating the final day of the Eid al-Adha religious holiday.

Kirkuk is the heart of northern Iraq’s oil industry yet no workable agreement has yet emerged as to how the wealth should be shared.

Kurdish and Arab leaders, attempting to find some long-term reconciliation between the communities, were reportedly having lunch there at the time.

kirkuk suicide attack

Salam Abdullah, a 45-year-old Kurd, said he was having lunch with his wife when they saw shrapnel flying through the room.

“I held my wife and led her outside the place. As we were leaving, I saw dead bodies soaked with blood and huge destruction,” he said. Abdullah was wounded in his head and left hand; his wife suffered head and chest injuries.

While violence in most of Iraq is down by up to 80%, Kirkuk remains restless.

Photos: BBC news and Telegraph