A series of explosions have rocked the oil-rich northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, which lies 150 miles north of Baghdad in a disputed region which Iraqi Kurdistan leaders have jostled with the national government for control over.
On Thursday evening half a dozen or more explosions ripped across a central avenue, leaving at least five people dead and a dozen or more wounded, according to unconfirmed early conflicting reports. Some reports have cited as many as six or more among the dead what may have numbered eight total explosions.
Dramatic footage captured the moment of one of the bombs being detonated on a busy street during the heart of the evening in an area known as a popular commercial hub filled with cafes and malls.
According to regional Kurdistan 24 media:
According to initial reports, five explosions were heard in the center of the province near the Peace Mall on Jerusalem Street. A source in the area told Kurdistan 24 the incident left many killed and injured.
Other reports said at least seven blasts targeted various areas inside the city, including Jerusalem Street and Baghdad Road.
The attack is believed to have involved improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and possibly car bombs in what was clearly a terror attack on the ethnically diverse northern Iraqi city.
There have been early reports that suicide bombers may have been involved. No group has claimed responsibility, however, the city has seen a remnant ISIS insurgency wreak havoc on the area of late, for which Kurdish Peshmerga forces have reportedly been deployed to root out.
Regional gulf media outlet Al-Arabiya reports the death toll may be rising as hospitals take in more casualties:
At least five people were killed and 18 injured in the blasts, sources in the Kirkuk general hospital said.
The statement from the military said the Iraqi security forces defused two of the explosive devices in the city.
Kirkuk has historically and in recent years been disputed by Erbil and its regional 'Kurdistan' government and Baghdad.
Over the past month the whole region has been on edge with the United States' saber-rattling over Iran and its proxies in Iraq - the Shia popular mobilization units nominally under Baghdad's control.