Suicide attacks kill dozens of troops in Iraq

ISIL bombers blamed for attacks on military base near Tikrit and in Haditha as battle for control of Ramadi continues.

    Government troops are still battling ISIL fighters in Ramadi, five days after the army recaptured the city centre [AFP]
    Government troops are still battling ISIL fighters in Ramadi, five days after the army recaptured the city centre [AFP]

    Two suicide attacks blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have killed dozens of government troops in Iraq.

    At least 13 Iraqi soldiers died in Sunday's attack on police training at the Spiecher military base near the city of Tikrit, while an attack in Haditha killed 18 people.

    Another 22 were wounded in the attacks by suicide bombers on the base, a former US military facility north of Baghdad, where a large group of police forces from Nineveh, a northern province, were undergoing training.

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    Two bombers detonated their vehicle-borne explosives at the western gate while three others blew themselves up after entering the section of the base where Iraqi police are being trained, according to police and military sources in the Salahuddin operations command.

    "Under the cover of fog, they broke into Speicher," said Mahmud al-Sorchi, spokesperson for the paramilitary force being set up to take back ISIL-held Nineveh.

    "Nineveh police managed to kill seven attackers but three were able to detonate their suicide vests."

    ISIL claimed responsibility for the blasts in a statement distributed by supporters online, adding that "trainers from the rejectionist army" were targeted.

    Speicher is located in Salahuddin, which was one of the provinces conquered by ISIL when it swept across much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland in June 2014.

    ISIL fighters have launched a number of attacks since losing control of the city of Ramadi in the western province of Anbar a week ago.


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    After taking the strategic government complex in the centre of Ramadi, elite counterterrorism forces have been expanding their control and searching each neighbourhood for ISIL fighters and trapped civilians.

    "Over the last 24 hours, Iraqi forces have cleared several more hundred square metres of the city," said Colonel Steve Warren, spokesperson of the US-led coalition whose trainers and aircraft helped Iraqi forces retake Ramadi.

    "We don't think the enemy has enough combat power in downtown Ramadi to be able to recapture the city. We haven't seen anything more than small teams of ISIL fighters [four to eight individuals] trying to conduct harassing attacks."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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