69 people killed in violence across Iraq
A total of 69 people were killed and 99 others wounded in separate insurgent attacks across Iraq Sunday, police and medical sources said.
Earlier in the morning, up to 17 people were killed and 65 others wounded in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, when a booby- trapped car exploded at a parking lot outside the office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and a nearby Kurdish security headquarters in the city of Jalawlaa, some 130 km northeast of the capital Baghdad, Xinhua quoted a provincial police source as saying Sunday.
Minutes later, a suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest at a crowd of security personnel, party members and civilians who gathered on the site of the first blast, the source said.
"Those who killed by the blasts were nine Kurdish security members and one PUK official, while the other seven deaths were five police officers and two policemen," the source said, adding that most of the wounded were also security members and party officials.
He said the powerful blasts caused severe damages to the security headquarters and the PUK office, which is headed by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
The ethnically mixed city of Jalawlaa is part of disputed areas between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurds who want to annex it to their semi-autonomous region.
Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the country's eastern border, has long been a volatile area since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated military operations against the militant groups.
In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, sporadic clashes, bomb explosions and airstrikes continued for the third day since the early morning hours in the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, as Iraqi security forces are fighting insurgent groups, some believed to have linkage with the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida breakaway group in Iraq, who have seized several neighbourhoods in western part of the city.
The Sunday's battles left some 30 militants killed, including five snipers, the source said, without giving further details about the casualties among the security forces.
Since Friday morning, bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighbourhoods in western part of Mosul.
Iraqi forces managed to regain control of some neighbourhoods but battles are still underway in others.
In Iraq's central province of Salahudin, an army officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol near the city of Balad, some 90 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police told Xinhua.
Also in Salahudin province, a civilian was killed and eight others were wounded when a car bomb detonated outside a secondary school while students were doing their exams in the provincial capital Tikrit, about 170 km north of Baghdad, the source said.
In a separate incident, a policeman was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb went off while they were trying to defuse it in Tikrit, the source added.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb went off near a passing police patrol in al-Qadsiyah neighbourhood in the northern part of Tikrit, wounding three policemen, he said.
In the restive province of Anbar, helicopter gunships pounded positions belonging to ISIL militant group just south of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, killing six militants and destroying two of their vehicles, a provincial police source said.
Moreover, four people were killed and five others wounded by artillery and mortar shelling on several neighbourhoods in besieged city of Fallujah, a medical source from the city hospital told Xinhua.
In addition, a police patrol found the body of a policeman in his private car shot dead with bullets in his head in the city of Heet, some 160 km west of Baghdad, a local police source said.
Iraq is witnessing some of 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 08-06-2014)