A car bomb exploded outside a liquor store in northern Iraq overnight, killing at least 12 civilians, a senior police officer said Sunday.
The blast struck the northern oil-rich and ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk, deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef said. Youssef said that the blast in the western al-Wasiti neighborhood wounded 29.
Kirkuk is located 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad.
Militants often target night clubs, liquor stores and brothels. They want to impose a strict interpretation of Islam in Iraq.
The attack comes as Iraq's Shiite-led government is struggling to contain a surge in sectarian violence unseen since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007 after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Sadaam Hussein. According to the United Nations, 8,868 people were killed in Iraq last year.