At least 24 people were killed and 80 injured in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in three different bombing incidents on Thursday. Two of them exploded near a police station.

Many of the casualties were police officers who rushed outside after the first bomb went off, an official said.

There were three explosions that targeted the security forces near the local government buildings, Hassan Turan, the head of the Kirkuk provincial council, told the Reuters on Thursday.

The first was a sticky bomb on a car of a police officer, followed by a car bomb targeting the police who gathered near the car, Turan said. Afterwards, there was a second car bomb that exploded in the same place.

About an hour after the explosions near the police station, a third blast was reported near a convoy of a senior police official, which injured a number of officers.

Kirkuk, about 180 miles (290km) north of Baghdad, has seen violence linked to ethnicity in the past. The city is in an area where Kurdish authorities are competing for control with the central government in Baghdad.