18 killed in violence, airstrikes against IS in Iraq

Baghdad: At least 18 people were killed and 36 others wounded in separate bomb attacks and airstrikes targeting positions of the Islamic State (IS) militants in central Iraq on Wednesday, a security source told Xinhua news agency.

One of the attacks occurred in the afternoon in the northern part of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car in al-Sadrain intersection at the entrance of the Shia district of Shula, leaving at least five people dead and some 17 others wounded, an Interior Ministry source said.

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The blast also destroyed several nearby buildings and shops and set ablaze several civilian cars at the scene, the source said.

In Anbar province, Iraqi helicopter gunships pounded an IS base near Nadhim al-Taqseem north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, which itself is located some 50 km west of Baghdad, leaving at least eight militants dead and seven others wounded, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Iraqi aircraft carried out an airstrike near Albu Shejil area near the military airbase of Habbaniyah, some 80 km west of Baghdad, destroying two vehicles carrying fuel and leaving three civilians killed and five others wounded, the source said.

Also in Anbar province, two soldiers were killed and seven government-backed paramilitary members were wounded in clashes with IS militants at the edge of the town of Barwana near the city of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, the source added.

The IS group has seized most of Anbar province and tried to advance toward Baghdad during the past few months, but several counter-attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.

Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. Terrorism and violence have killed at least 12,282 civilians and wounded 23,126 others in 2014, making it the deadliest year since the sectarian violence in the 2006-2007 period, according to a UN report.