Relocation Plan Likely to Increase Arab-Kurd Tension in Kirkuk

Relocation Plan Likely to Increase Arab-Kurd Tension in Kirkuk

IRBIL, Iraq -- Tens of thousands of Iraqi Arabs have fled central Iraq for the relative peace of the Kurdish north, creating fresh tensions that are liable to be exacerbated by a plan to relocate Arabs from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

On Monday, a suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives in downtown Kirkuk, killing 13 people and wounding at least 90 others, according to Iraqi police. The attack appeared to be in response to the relocation plan, and observers say this may be a sign of worse to come.

About 1.9 million people have sought refuge inside Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to the latest U.N. figures, with many of them attracted by the relative peace of the Kurdish-run north. The Iraqi Red Crescent in Irbil has registered more than 5,000 families -- or approximately 30,000 people -- as refugees in the past two years.

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