Baghdad : At least 40 people were killed and 90 wounded Tuesday in a wave of violence in Iraq. The US army said it killed 13 militants during operations that began a day earlier.
In one incident, 25 people were killed when a suicide attacker detonated his bomb-laden car simultaneously when two other suicide bombers detonated their explosives belts near a stall selling gas cylinders in the northern Iraqi town of Bayji, police said.
Another 75 people were injured in the complex attack, some 200 km north of Baghdad, according to the police. The blasts occurred near a group of people queuing to buy propane gas for cooking.
Shortly after the bombings, the Minister of Interior Jawad al-Boulani fired Bayji’s police department chief Saad al-Nafous, according to Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency. Al-Nafous would be questioned about the violence.
In relation to the same incident, members of the city’s Awakening Council, composed of local militias who fight al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, were also arrested.
Abdel-Kareem Khalaf, head of the ministry’s National Command Centre, told the press that an investigative committee was being formed to decide who was behind Tuesday’s attacks.
Another suicide attacker on Tuesday morning blew himself up in a mourning procession in the Mualimeen neighbourhood in Baquba, 60 km north of Baghdad, killing at least 10 and wounding 13, according to local authorities.
Overnight in Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, two members of the local Awakening Council were killed, allegedly by US military fire, police sources said.
In Muqdadiyah meanwhile another Awakening Council member was killed and two others wounded by unidentified militants.
Brigadier Abdel-Kareem al-Juburi, the chief of Nineveh’s security operations room, also told VOI that US soldiers had killed a man and his son and arrested a 15-year-old boy during a raid on a house in south-eastern Mosul, northern Iraq in the early hours of Tuesday.
The dead man had been an air force officer during the reign of former dictator Saddam Hussein and had recently been working at a Mosul drugstore, al-Juburi said.
Separately, the US military said Tuesday that their forces killed 13 terrorists during firefights and detained 27 suspects during operations on Monday and early Tuesday.
The series of operations targeted Al Qaeda hideouts in Samarra, 125 km north of Baghdad and northern Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad.
In other news, the governor of the north-western Nineveh province Dureid Kashmula escaped an attempt on his life Tuesday afternoon. One of those accompanying him, and his driver, were wounded.
The governor’s bullet-proof vehicle was attacked by an explosive device as he drove north of the city of Mosul. The governor was on his way to a local church to greet Christians celebrating Christmas.