Boy detained in Kirkuk as Iraqi police avert suicide bombing
A young boy has been apprehended in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before he was able to detonate his explosives belt, police said.
Local television footage shows a group of police officers holding the would-be bomber while two men are seen cutting off a belt of explosives. After they remove the belt, the boy is seen being rushed into a police truck and driven away.
The boy was apprehended on Sunday night, less than an hour after a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in the city. In that attack, only the bomber died but two other people were injured.
Kirkuk intelligence official Chato Fadhil Humadi said the boy in the latest incident "claimed during interrogation that he had been kidnapped by masked men who put the explosives on him and sent him to the area".
The boy, Mr Humadi added, was displaced from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, by recent military operations in the area. He arrived in Kirkuk a week ago.
Islamic State's media arm, the Aamaq news agency, on Monday claimed responsibility for the mosque bombing but made no statement about the boy.
Kirkuk, an oil rich city in Iraq's north, is claimed by both Iraq's central government and the country's Kurdish region.
Kirkuk has seen a rise in ethnic tensions following the Islamic State group's blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014. Iraqi security forces largely withdrew from Kirkuk and Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga took control of the city. Since then, Shiite militia fighters have also massed around the city.
The area is home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen who all have competing claims to the area. The Kurds have long wanted to incorporate the city into their semi-autonomous region, but Iraq's central government opposes this.