29 killed in Iraq attacks

Baghdad : A total of 29 people were killed and 72 others wounded in separate shootings and bombings across Iraq Wednesday, police said.

The deadliest of the attacks happened in Iraq’s capital Baghdad in the afternoon when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint and blew it up in the northern district of Kadhmiyah, leaving at least 12 dead and some 52 others wounded, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

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The huge blast set fire some 15 cars and badly damaged many others, the source said, adding that most of the victims were civilians.

In Salahudin province, 11 bomb explosions hit houses of Shiite Turkomans in the city of Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of provincial capital Tikrit, killing five people, including four from one family, and wounding 11 others, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

The Shiite Turkomans in Tuz-Khurmato have frequently complained of suffering from militant attacks aimed at forcing them out from their homes.

The ethnically mixed city of Tuz-Khurmato is part of the disputed area claimed by the Kurds, the Arabs and the Turkomans. The Kurds want to incorporate the area on the edge of their Kurdistan region, something fiercely opposed by the central government in Baghdad.

In Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, security forces raided a safe house in the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, believed to be linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an Al Qaeda breakaway group in Iraq, killing three militants, a provincial police source said.

Nineveh is a Sunni-majority province and its capital Mosul has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including Al Qaeda militants, since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In Anbar province, army forces and border guards clashed fiercely with suspected ISIL militants who tried to enter Iraq from an area located near the al-Walid border crossing point with Syria, killing seven militants and arresting five others, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

Separately, a bomb exploded at a marketplace in Abu Ghraib area, some 25 km west of Baghdad, leaving a civilian dead and three others wounded, a local police source said.

In a separate incident, five civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb went off on a main road in the town of Latifiyah, some 20 km south of Baghdad, the source said.

Elsewhere, a gunman was killed and another wounded when security forces carried out a search operation in the town of Buhruz, some 70 km northeast of Baghdad, a 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.