Middle East

Spate of Iraq attacks kill at least six

Members of the Awakening Council, a local neighbourhood guard unit, inspect a vehicle at a checkpoint in Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad, October 13, 2012. Picture taken October 13, 2012. REUTERS/Bakr al-Azzawi

BAGHDAD: A spate of shootings and bombings targeting Iraqi security forces north of Baghdad killed at least six people and wounded several others on Monday, security and medical officials said.

Among the dead were three policemen and two anti-Qaeda militiamen, after deadly bombings targeted Iraqi police the previous night, killing one policeman.

On Monday morning, gunmen attacked a checkpoint in the centre of the town of Tuz Khurmatu, 175 kilometres (110 miles) north of Baghdad, killing two policemen before fleeing the scene, a security official in the town said. A doctor confirmed the toll.

Also in Tuz Khurmatu, a car bomb at one of the main entrances to the town left nine people wounded, two local security officials said.

In another gun attack, militants broke into the home of two brothers, both of them anti-Qaeda militiamen, in the desert region west of Samarra city, which lies around 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad.

They killed them and their father at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT), a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor in Samarra's main hospital said.

The brothers were members of the Sahwa militia, otherwise known as the Awakening, comprised of Sunni tribesmen who banded together and sided with the US military against Al-Qaeda from late 2006, helping turn the tide of Iraq's violent insurgency.

They are frequently targeted by Sunni militants who regard them as traitors.

And in the tinderbox northern city of Kirkuk, two car bombs near the provincial government headquarters killed one policeman and wounded six others, a local security official said. A doctor in the city's hospital said the facility had received one body, but did not confirm the wounded.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, a shooting at an Iraqi army checkpoint in the south of the city left three Iraqi soldiers wounded, an interior ministry official said. A medical source, however, said one soldier died and two were hurt.

The attacks came just hours after two bombings the previous evening targeting police north of Baghdad, near the restive cities of Baquba and Mosul, left one policeman dead and four people wounded, according to security and medical officials.

Violence in Iraq is dramatically lower than its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad and north of the capital. More than 250 people have been killed as a result of violence in Iraq every month since at least June, according to an AFP tally.





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