BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq attacks kill 15 in deadliest day this month

Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk, some 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, October 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Ako Rasheed)

BAGHDAD: Attacks mostly targeting government officials and security forces in central and north Iraq killed 15 people in the run-up to the Muslim Eid holiday on Wednesday, Iraq's deadliest day this month.

The shootings and bombings, which also left 13 people wounded, were the latest sign of a relative spike in violence after several weeks of calm earlier this month.

In Fallujah, just west of Baghdad, a car bomb near the home of Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi's father killed four people -- two policemen and two civilians -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Yassin Dawish from the provincial security command centre.

The minister's father escaped unscathed, but four others were wounded, including three policemen, doctor Assim al-Hamdani from the city's hospital said. The police casualties were all the guards of the house.

Wednesday's deadliest attack, meanwhile, saw six employees of a government-run vehicle spare parts factory shot dead by gunmen using light weapons as the workers were returning to their homes, a police captain and an interior ministry official said.

The attack occurred at around 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) in the town of Mishahada, which lies 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In west Baghdad, meanwhile, gunmen opened fire on an army checkpoint in the upscale residential neighbourhood of Mansur, and then detonated a bomb when police arrived at the scene, an interior ministry official said.

At least one soldier was killed in the first attack, and three police were wounded in the subsequent bombing, the official and a medic said.

Three separate attacks in north Iraq, meanwhile, left two dead -- a policeman and a young child.

In the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a roadside bomb apparently targeting the convoy of a provincial councillor killed a child and wounded two other people, a security official and a doctor at the local hospital said.

Four policemen were wounded by a bomb attached to a motorcycle in Kirkuk city, according to security and medical officials.

And in the village of Ko Sulaiman, a roadside bomb against a police patrol killed a policeman, the officials said.

Two civilians were also killed when gunmen opened fire on them while they were driving in the town of Kazaniyah, in restive Diyala province north of Baghdad, local security and medical officials said.

Wednesday's death toll was the highest in Iraq since September 30, when 33 people were killed in nationwide violence.

The latest attacks come ahead of Friday's Eid al-Adha holiday. The days leading up to the annual holiday are often marked by a spike in unrest in Iraq.

At least 36 people have been killed since Sunday, more than in the first 15 days of the month combined, according to an AFP tally.

Violence is down sharply across Iraq from their peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks are still common, especially in Baghdad and north Iraq. At least 250 people have been killed as a result of unrest in each of the past four months.

 

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