Explosion near Camp Taji, no Kiwi casualties

Kiwi troops are based at Camp Taji in Iraq. Photo / Mike Scott
Kiwi troops are based at Camp Taji in Iraq. Photo / Mike Scott

An explosion within two to three kilometres of Camp Taji in northern Baghdad where 106 NZ Defence Force personnel are currently deployed has resulted in a number of casualties, but all New Zealanders are safe.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed reports of an explosion this evening.

"Open source reporting suggests the blast resulted in a number of casualties, however all New Zealand personnel at Taji are safe," Mr Brownlee said.

"Reports from Taji are that at 5.58pm New Zealand time a car bomb was detonated close to a checkpoint outside the south-western secure perimeter of the camp.

"It is estimated the blast occurred between two and three kilometres from where New Zealand and Australian troops are accommodated," he said.

"Appropriate security measures are in place at Taji to protect our soldiers from a range of risks, and these are constantly reviewed and updated to reflect the threat environment.

"Our troops know they are in a volatile place, but they are inside a well-secured perimeter at Taji, and they take the steps necessary to ensure they can safely continue to train the Iraqi Security Forces to rid Iraq of D'aesh," Mr Brownlee said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (Isis).

Al Jazeera reported that a suicide car bomber targeted the army checkpoint in Taji.

According to the news outlet, the blast killed seven soldiers and wounded more than 20.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Isis has claimed responsibility for a second bombing on a commercial street in the Iraqi capital which killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 50.

- NZ Herald

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