Middle East

Iraq violence kills 10, including senior officer

Masked anti-government gunmen hold their weapons as they stand guard in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014.(AP Photo)

BAGHDAD: Violence in Iraq, including shelling in a city held by anti-government fighters for over two months, killed 10 people on Friday, among them a senior police officer, officials said.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in bloodshed that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by widespread discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Shelling in the city of Fallujah, just a short drive from Baghdad in Anbar province, killed six people and wounded 17, Dr Ahmed Shami told AFP.

The source of the fire, which resident Jassem Mohammed al-Essawi said hit four different areas, was not immediately clear.

A crisis erupted in the desert province of Anbar in late December when security forces dismantled a Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp just outside provincial capital Ramadi.

Militants subsequently seized Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, to its west.

It is 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.

Some 380,000 people may have been displaced by the latest crisis in Anbar, according to the United Nations.

In northern Iraq, gunmen killed police Brigadier General Moqdad Abdulrahman al-Ezzi and his brother as they drove south of the city of Kirkuk.

And in Saadiyah, northeast of Baghdad, gunmen shot dead municipal council member Hussein al-Tamimi and another person.

Friday's deaths came a day after more than a dozen bombings and two shootings killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens.

Violence in Iraq has killed more than 1,800 people since January 1, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.





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