Many killed in string of Iraq attacks

At least 16 people killed and 10 policemen kidnapped, following country’s deadliest day in months.

Violence in Iraq has killed 16 people, including a police officer, his wife and two children, while gunmen kidnapped 10 policemen, officials said.

Armed men early on Saturday broke into the home of the administrator for the Rashid area, south of Baghdad, killing one of his guards, an interior ministry official said.

They then moved to the nearby house of Captain Adnan al-Obaidi, a police officer in an anti-terrorism unit, and killed him and his family, the official said.

Also south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in a popular market in Latifiyah city, killing at least one person and wounding at least 15, medical officials said.

The violence comes a day after more than 70 people were killed in bombings in majority Sunni districts in Baghdad and surrounding areas, in what has been noted as the deadliest day in Iraq in more than eight months.

Gunmen on Saturday ambushed and kidnapped 10 policemen near Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, a Sunni heartland bordering Syria.

Also in Ramadi, clashes between security forces and armed tribesmen left two members of the tribe dead. The fighting broke after security forces attempted to arrest Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, who is wanted in connection with the killing of five soldiers.

Abu Risha is the nephew of powerful tribal leader Ahmed Abu Risha, who is a key supporter of Sunni anti-government protesters in the western Anbar province and who led the uprising against al-Qaeda in the province from 2007.

‘Responsibility of leaders’

Elsewhere in Anbar, four state-backed so-called Sahwa fighters were killed in an attack by gunmen on their headquarters on the outskirts of Garma city.

The Sahwa [awakening] are Sunni Arabs who joined forces with the US military to fight al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch at the height of the country’s conflict.

Meanwhile, an imam of a Sunni mosque was shot dead near the main southern port city of Basra, officials said.

In Mosul, two policemen were killed after an improvised device exploded at a federal police base in the city’s south, Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh reported.

A third soldier was killed west of Mosul in a similar attack, which also wounded three soldiers, Al Saleh said.

Martin Kobler, the UN envoy in Baghdad, called for Iraqi leaders to stop the violence.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane reports on Friday’s attacks

“It is the responsibility of all leaders to stop the bloodshed in this country and to protect their citizens,” he said in a statement on Friday.

In the deadliest attack on Friday, twin bombings near a Sunni mosque in Baquba, north of Baghdad, killed 41 people and injured dozens.

One bomb exploded as worshippers were departing the Saria mosque while a second went off after people gathered at the scene of the first blast, police said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Adding to the tension are protests by Sunnis against what they say is mistreatment at the hands of the mainly Shia-led government, including random detentions and neglect.

The protests, which began in December, have largely been peaceful, but the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in the country’s north on April 23.

So far in May, more than 300 people have been killed in the violence. The death toll for this year is around 1,500 people.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies