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Kurdish Islamist Party Says Attacked, Four Dead

DOHUK, Iraq (Reuters) -- Four people were killed in northern Iraq on Tuesday when members of a Kurdish Islamic party that is challenging the dominant Kurdish bloc in next week's Iraqi elections were attacked by mobs, party officials said.

One senior official of the Kurdistan Islamic Union was among those killed when angry youths threw stones and set fire to party buildings in six towns. Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani appeared on television and condemned the violence.

The party officials said 10 people were also wounded in the attacks.

Youths stood on the roof of a building in Dohuk, capital of one of three of Iraq's 18 provinces controlled by Kurds, holding up Kurdish regional flags as a car burned in the street below.

Attacks also took place in Arbil, the Kurdistan capital, and Zakho near the Turkish border, as well as three other towns.

The main Kurdish bloc -- Barzani's Kurdistan Democractic Party (KDP) and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) -- is seen as a leading contender in Dec. 15 elections for postwar Iraq's first full-term parliament.

Although the KDP and PUK fought a civil war in the 1990s, the they have set aside rivalries, hoping to gain as much power as possible in Iraqi national politics through elections that have followed Saddam Hussein's overthrow in 2003.

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