Baghdad, Feb 22 IANS | 9 months ago

Nineteen people were killed and 29 others wounded in attacks by gunmen mainly targeting Iraqi security forces in central and eastern Iraq Saturday, police said.

In Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, gunmen attacked several police checkpoints in the early hours of the day in the town of Seiniyah, some 50 km north of provincial capital Tikrit, resulting in fierce clashes that left four policemen dead and six others injured, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

Local authorities imposed curfew as reinforcement troops arrived at the town to start an operation to chase the militants, the source said.

In a separate incident, gunmen blew up two houses of police officers in the city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, killing a policeman and two civilians and wounding 17 others, the source said.

The provincial authorities also imposed indefinite curfew on Tikrit while police and army troops were deployed across the city, the source added.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, gunmen attacked overnight a base of a rapid reaction police force and several nearby outposts in Imam Weis area, some 50 km northeast of provincial capital Baquba, leaving six policemen and four gunmen dead and six more policemen wounded, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

The commander of the force, Adnan Farouq, and another officer were among those killed, the source said, adding that the clashes which ended in the morning also resulted in the arrest of six gunmen believed to be linked to the Al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, two gunmen were killed when a roadside bomb detonated while they were planting it on a main road in Taji area, just north of Baghdad, a police source said.

Separately, the Iraqi defence ministry Friday offered bounties of 20 million Iraqi Dinars ($16,666) to anyone who kills a terrorist from Al Qaeda's front, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), and 30 million Iraqi Dinars (about $25,000 ) to anyone who captures a terrorist of ISIL.

The latest government move came to curb the recent escalation of violence, as the country is witnessing its worst violence in recent years.

According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.

(Posted on 22-02-2014)

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