Many dead in fresh wave of violence in Iraq

Attacks in three different locations near the capital leave at least 22 people dead, as country awaits election results.

    At least 22 people have died at different locations near the Iraqi capital in a fresh wave of attacks, as the country waits for the results of recent elections to be announced.

    Police officials said the deadliest attack of the day happened on Saturday afternoon when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a security checkpoint in the town of Dujail, 80km north of Baghdad, killing six security force members and a civilian. At least 15 others were wounded in the explosion.

    Earlier on Saturday, a bomb blast at an outdoor market killed four people and wounded 17 in the town of Tarmiyah, also north of the capital.

    Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures for all of the attacks to the AFP news agency. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to journalists.

    Meanwhile, shelling killed 11 people in Fallujah on Saturday as security forces launched an operation to retake areas near the city which has been held by anti-government fighters for more than four months.

    A further 20 people were wounded by the Fallujah bombardment, Doctor Ahmed Shami of the city's main hospital told the AP news agency.

    The attacks were the latest in a protracted surge of violence that has killed more than 3,100 people this year.

    Violence in Anbar, which shares a long border with war-torn Syria, erupted in late December when security forces dismantled a longstanding protest camp maintained by the province's mainly Sunni Arab population to vent their grievances against the Shia-led government.

    Rebels subsequently seized parts of the provincial capital Ramadi and all of Fallujah, the first time anti-government forces have exercised such open control in major cities since the peak of the deadly violence that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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