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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 21:23 GMT
Two killed in Iraq fuel protest
Unrest in Kirkuk
Demonstrators set petrol stations alight and attacked police
At least two people have been killed as security forces in Iraq opened fire during a protest against fuel shortages in the city of Kirkuk.

A police spokesman said demonstrators had set cars and petrol stations alight and attacked police.

The demonstration is the latest in a wave of country-wide fuel protests.

In Baghdad, a series of bomb attacks on Sunday morning injured at least 11 people and killed one person, who was believed to have been a suicide bomber.

The demonstration in Kirkuk was joined by hundreds of people.

Fuel crisis

Men marched along the main street protesting against a lack of basic services and the government's decision to raise petrol prices threefold 13 days ago.

An overnight curfew was imposed.

The demonstration comes as Iraq grapples with a fuel crisis stemming from the closure of a major refinery in the north that has prompted panic buying of fuel and long queues at petrol stations.

Unrest in Kirkuk
The protest was the latest in a series of country-wide demonstrations against fuel shortages
The refinery, in the northern town of Baiji, was closed 10 days ago following death threats to tanker drivers.

On Friday, the country's oil minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum was temporarily released from his post after publicly objecting to the government's pricing policy.

Bomb attacks

On Sunday, a bomb exploded near one of Iraq's largest oil refineries but an official said the blast would have no impact on the plant's operations.

It was the second such attack in the past few days on a pipeline feeding the refinery in Baghdad. That attack was said to have cut capacity at the plant by 30%.

Sunday's explosion followed a number of other blasts in the capital on New Year's morning.

Two went off near restaurants in eastern Baghdad and another two targeted police patrols.

In another development, the United States military has confirmed that one of its soldiers was killed in a mortar attack in Baghdad on Saturday.

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