[QODLink]
Middle East

Blast kills soldiers near Iraq's Fallujah

At least 18 soldiers killed in an explosion and ensuing gunfight at booby-trapped house near the city of Fallujah.

Last updated: 05 Apr 2014 18:44
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

An explosion at a booby-trapped house, ensuing clashes with fighters and a roadside bombing killed 18 soldiers in Iraq, authorities said.

The blast happened Saturday afternoon when a group of soldiers searched a farmhouse in Garma, an area near the city of Fallujah, 65km west of the capital. Minutes later, police said gunmen opened fire on arriving soldiers.

The blast wounded 24 soldiers and leveled the home, officials said.

In other attacks, police said a roadside bomb targeting a military convoy killed three soldiers and wounded seven just north of Baghdad, the AP news agency reported.

Medical officials at two Baghdad hospitals confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorised to speak to journalists.

Al-Qaeda-inspired fighters took control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in late December, taking advantage of a months-long surge in Sunni discontent against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The takeover was sparked when security forces arrested a Sunni politician sought on "terrorism charges", then dismantled a year-old Sunni anti-government protest camp. They later pulled out of the area to calm angry residents, allowing the fighters to take control.

Violence has been escalating in Iraq. Last year, Iraq saw its highest death toll since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures.

222

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.