A suicide car bomb went off near a storage site housing ballot boxes from a May national election, police say. A court-mandated manual recount of the vote is expected to start from Kirkuk in two days.

In this file photo, a man looks at bloodstains on a roadway after a bomb explosion in the ethnically mixed Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraq. June 9, 2018.
In this file photo, a man looks at bloodstains on a roadway after a bomb explosion in the ethnically mixed Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraq. June 9, 2018. (Ako Rasheed / Reuters)

At least one person was killed in Iraq's Kirkuk on Sunday when a suicide car bomb went off near a storage site housing ballot boxes from a May national election, police sources said, two days before a manual recount was due to begin.

Another 20 people were wounded in the explosion, including nine policemen, six members of a counter-terrorist unit and four civilians. The warehouse holding the ballot boxes was not damaged, the sources said.

Iraq's parliamentary election in May was clouded by allegations of fraud. On Saturday, a judges' panel announced that a recount of votes mandated by the Iraqi parliament and the courts was to kick off on Tuesday, starting with Kirkuk.

The driver detonated the vehicle before reaching the entrance of the warehouse after officers guarding the facility opened fire, the police sources said. 

The building was damaged by the blast but the ballot boxes were unaffected, said Rakan al Juburi, the governor of Kirkuk.

Cleric Muqtada al Sadr's electoral list came first in the national election which saw a historically low turnout. After weeks of negotiations on forming a government, Sadr formed an alliance with Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, whose electoral list came third and with second-placed Iran ally Hadi al Amiri's bloc.

In early June, a storage site holding half of Baghdad's ballot boxes went up in flames in an incident Abadi described as a "plot to harm the nation and its democracy."

Source: Reuters