Iraq's president has condemned Thursday's suicidebombing of a crowded restaurant near Kirkuk that killed at least 55 people.
Jalal Talabani spoke shortly after the blast, one of the most lethal in months, while in the northern city on a previously scheduled visit. The bomb went off at the "Abdullah" restaurant some 10 kilometers north of Kirkuk.
The chief of Kirkuk district police, Sarhad Qadir tells VOA's Kurdish Service more than 100 other people were wounded. Police say the restaurant was busier than usual on the final day of the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, with many people gathering to celebrate. Reports from the scene say numerous government officials were also inside. The police chief says an investigation is under way, and that preliminary suspicions rest on al-Qaida in Iraq militants.
Kirkuk is an ethnically mixed area, and home to a large Kurdish population. Control of the city is hotly contested as it sits atop vast oil reserves.
The police chief says a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, was killed and that members of the city council were among the wounded. A PUK official told VOA (Kurdish Service) that a Bangladeshi national also was killed, as were five children. In addition, the official said a well-known Turkomen singer, Kana'an, died in the blast, along with his two sons.