Militants seize village as Iraq attacks kill 27

Militants seized a village in north Iraq on Friday as attacks nationwide killed 27 people, including at least 10 policemen, amid a surge in bloodshed ahead of parliamentary elections.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 22 Mar 2014, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:28 AM

The latest unrest comes barely a week before campaigning begins for the April 30 election due to take place as Iraq grapples with its worst protracted bloodletting since a brutal 2006-07 war in which tens of thousands of people were killed.

Shootings and bombings on Friday mostly took place in northern and western Iraq, killing 27 people and wounding more than 50, security and medical officials said.

In Sarha, militants mounted a coordinated pre-dawn assault on the village involving gunmen and a suicide truck bomb, and were in control of it as of noon on Friday, according to Lieutenant General Abdulamir Al Zaidi, head of a northern Iraq security command, and Shallal Abdul, mayor of the nearby town of Tuz Khurmatu.

Sarha is near the town of Sulaiman Bek, which has been repeatedly targeted over the past year by militants who have sought to take control of the area.

Clashes first erupted early on Friday in the Sarha region of Salaheddin province, between anti-government fighters and police manning checkpoints.

There was also an explosion at a bridge in the area, Abdul said. Shortly afterwards, a suicide bomber set off a fuel tanker rigged with explosives near an army base where senior police and military officers were meeting, killing 11 people and wounding five others.

Among those killed were police Brigadier General Ragheb Al Timimi, his deputy Colonel Jawad Mohammed, and two other army officers. Elsewhere in Salaheddin, gunmen killed five policemen and wounded five in an attack on a checkpoint outside Samarra, while three other policemen were killed by a roadside bomb in Siniyah.

In the ethnically mixed northern province of Kirkuk, twin car bombs killed two people and wounded 26. And in Anbar province, where militants have held key territory for more than two months, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral inside a mosque in provincial capital Ramadi, killing six people.


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