33 killed in Iraq violence
At least 33 people were killed and 94 were wounded in clashes with Sunni militants and bomb attacks across Iraq, sources said Saturday.
In one attack, a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden car into a crowd of security forces and allied volunteers at a recruitment centre in Balad city, some 80 km north of Baghdad, leaving four volunteers killed and some 32 others wounded, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Helicopter gunships carried out air strikes against positions of insurgent militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, in Jurf al-Sakhar area, south of Baghdad, killing at least 15 militants and wounding 40 others. Three vehicles carrying heavy machineguns were also destroyed.
Separately, an army force raided IS positions, in the town of Latifiyah, some 30 km south of Baghdad, killing five IS militants, including a Syrian militant known as Abu Safiyah al- Suri, police said.
The sectarian mixed province of Babil has been part of latest Sunni insurgency against the Shiite-led government. The area north of the provincial capital Hilla, about 100 km south of Baghdad, is known as the 'Triangle of Death'. It is a cluster of Sunni towns scattered north of the province.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Sunni militant groups, including IS, took control of the southern part of the city of Jalawlaa, some 130 km northeast of Baghdad, after fierce clashes broke out with Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga.
The battles in Jalawlaa resulted in the killing of a Peshmerga member and the wounding of five others, while at least three militants were killed and another wounded.
The ethnically mixed city of Jalawlaa is part of disputed areas between the Arabs and Kurds, who want to annex it to their semi- autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Kurds' claims about the areas are rejected by Baghdad government.
In addition, a clash between the security forces and militant groups erupted in Imam Weis area in northeast of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving at least two militants killed and destroying a vehicle carrying heavy machinegun.
Sporadic clashes between the militant groups and security forces continued during the day in the rural areas near the town of Mansouriyah, some 40 km east of Baquba, leaving at least a woman killed and four people wounded, a source said.
In Baghdad, a bomb went off inside a bus carrying passengers, including soldiers, near Qahtan square in southern part of the capital, wounding nine soldiers and three civilians, an interior ministry source said.
The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq on June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants who took control of country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories. The Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.
Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said Friday that at least 1, 737 Iraqis were killed and 1,978 others injured in acts of terrorism and violence in July across Iraq, not including casualties in Anbar province.
Terrorism and violence have killed 5,576 civilians in Iraq in the first half of this year, with 11,666 more wounded, according to a recent UN report.
(Posted on 03-08-2014)