Middle East

Scores die in multiple Iraq attacks

Blasts kill at least 75, including mourners at funeral in Baquba, as PM Maliki calls for world support to defeat rebels.

Last updated: 15 Jan 2014 17:03
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Bombings have targeted predominantly Shia neighbourhoods, intensifying the levels of violence in Iraq [Reuters]

Bomb attacks and shootings have killed at least 75 people in Iraq, police and hospital sources said, making it one of the bloodiest days in months, Reuters reported.

A suicide bomber targeted a funeral in the village of Buhriz, near the northern town of Baquba, on Wednesday, killing 18 people and injuring 23.

In northwestern Iraq, assailants detonated roadside bombs near a bridge in Ain al-Jahash, 60km south of Mosul as an army patrol was crossing it. Six soldiers were killed and eight people were wounded, six of them civilians, police said.

Gunmen killed seven truck drivers, kidnapped two and set three trucks ablaze in the mainly Shia district of Maamil in Baghdad's eastern outskirts, police said.

At least eight bombs struck the capital, mostly in Shia districts, killing 40 people and wounding 88, police and medics said.

A car bomb in Dujail, a Shia town 50km north of Baghdad, killed three people and wounded seven.

The bombings followed attacks that cost at least 24 lives the day before, as well as coordinated assaults by fighters on a highway bridge and police station near Fallujah.

Wednesday's violence occurred amid a continuing standoff between Iraqi police, Sunni tribesmen and al-Qaeda linked fighters in Anbar province for control of major cities.

World support

Iraqi forces lost more ground in crisis-hit Anbar province on Wednesday as Sunni gunmen, including those from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) overran two key areas when police abandoned their posts, officials said.

The losses marked a second day of setbacks for Baghdad as it seeks to retake territory on the capital's doorstep from fighters, who hold Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi.

In a televised speech, Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, addressing the people of Anbar and Mosul, said: "Any house from which fire opened against our security forces will be a target."

"The battle will be long and will continue," Maliki said on state television, calling for world support.

"If we keep silent it means the creation of evil statelets that would wreak havoc with security in the region and the world."

Maliki has ruled out an assault on Falluja by the troops and tanks ringing the city of 300,000, but has told local tribesmen to expel ISIL, which has exploited anger among minority Sunnis against a government they accuse of oppressing them.


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