Middle East

Bombers kill five at Iraq provincial govt. compound

An Iraqi security officer walks past a crater at the site of twin suicide bombing the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, on April 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/AZHAR SHALLAL

RAMADI, Iraq: Two suicide bombers blew up vehicles rigged with explosives outside a government compound in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Wednesday, killing five people, police and a doctor said.

The twin attacks come as Iraq struggles to regain control of Anbar province, where anti-government fighters have held parts of Ramadi and all of the city of Fallujah, to its east, since early January.

The bombers each attacked one of the two entrances to the compound, which includes the governor's office, provincial council building and a military headquarters, a police lieutenant colonel and an army captain said.

The blasts killed three soldiers, a policeman and a civilian and wounded 12 other people, the officers and a doctor said.

The crisis in the desert province erupted in late December when security forces dismantled Iraq's main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp just outside Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Militants subsequently seized parts of Ramadi and all of Fallujah, marking 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.

In other violence on Wednesday, a mortar attack on a military base in Saba al-Bur, north of Baghdad, killed two soldiers and wounded nine, while a roadside bomb at a market in the area killed one person and wounded five, officials said.

Also north of the capital, gunmen killed two Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militiamen in Tikrit, while a traffic policeman was shot dead in Mosul.

And in Baghdad, gunmen killed a man near his home in the Shaab area.

Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,600 lives this year.

The heightened unrest has been driven mainly by widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority, who say they are mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces.

It has also been fuelled by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Violence in Iraq has killed more than 380 people since the beginning of the month, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.





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