At least 12 people died and another 20 were injured as two consecutive explosions were heard in the ethnically mixed city of Tuz Khormato, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Baghdad, an Iraqi police official told Efe.

A sound bomb was exploded in downtown Tuz Khormato, and when people ran to the place to see what had happened, a real explosive device was detonated.

The dead included two Turkmen civilians, eight Kurds and two Arabs, while among the injured at least eight are in critical condition and were taken to hospital in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk north of Tuz Khormato, the official said.

Kirkuk, inhabited by a Turkmen majority plus Arabs and Kurds, is one of the areas disputed by the central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region.

Tuz Khormato was the frequent scene of terrorist attacks, which led its inhabitants to ask for a local defense force to be created to protect the neighborhoods.

The past few months have been the bloodiest in five years in Iraq, with about 1,000 people killed in violent incidents in July alone. EFE