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Oil Well Explosion in Kirkuk Highlights City’s Struggle

As insurgents blew up an oil well outside the Iraqi city of Kirkuk Thursday, Independent Television News looks at the increasingly violent dispute between ethnic and religious groups in the city.

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  • JONATHAN MILLER, ITV News Correspondent:

    Captain Taashin of the Iraqi military police is sitting on a time bomb. Another car bomb exploded just 15 minutes ago in the Kurdish heart of the city. "OK," he says, "let's get moving."

    Car bombs going off almost every day now in Kirkuk, but the ticking time bomb is Kirkuk itself, a dusty, disputed city of 800,000 sitting on billions of barrels of oil, whose demography makes it a powder keg, the next flashpoint.

    Last year, more than 300 killed in Kirkuk, 1,400 wounded. Radical Islamists groups have launched a bombing campaign. Their aim: to stoke tensions between Arabs and Kurds. Their plan is working.

    "Arabs are sons of bitches," he says.

    CAPT. TAASHIN, Iraq Military Police (through translator): The terrorist who triggered the car bomb has just been caught by the people here. He's under arrest now; he was caught with his remote.

  • JONATHAN MILLER:

    No one killed in this bombing. Most of the wounded, as usual, are Kurds. Among them, rising anger.

    The failed suicide bomber is on this bloodied gurney. Captain Taashin's police save him from being lynched. They say he's an Arab. The man in the blue jacket threatens to blow himself up in revenge. "You're not going to free him, are you?" this man's yelling. "If you were a real man, you'd kill him right now in front of this camera so the whole world could see."

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