Bomb attacks in Iraq kill 32, months before U.S. pullout

11:08, May 20, 2011      

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by Jamal Hashim

A spate of bomb attacks on Thursday against the Iraqi security force in northern and central Iraq killed a total of 32 people and wounded some 82 others, several months before the U.S. troops to pull out from the country according to security pact.

In northern Iraq, twin bomb explosions ripped through a garage outside a police headquarters in central the city of Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, killing 25 people and wounding some 70 others, most of them were policemen.

The attack took place shortly after 9:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) when a sticky bomb attached to a car detonated in the garage, where dozens of the policemen's cars were parked, prompting officers and policemen of the headquarters to rush to the scene to check their cars.

Few minutes later, a huge explosion by a parked booby-trapped car hit the crowd of policemen and some civilian onlookers who gather at the scene, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Five of the killed were police officers, including Major Ibraim Hazim, the secretary of the Kirkuk's provincial police chief," the source said.

The powerful car bomb explosion destroyed parts of the police headquarters and several nearby buildings, the source added.

"Twisted and charred wreckage of dozens of cars and police vehicles were scattered at the scene and the surrounding area," he said.

"Obviously, the attackers used old tactic which depends on creating a secondary blast to attract people, then they carry out a massive blast to get heavier casualties," the source said.

About an hour later, a third explosion of a car bomb parked on a road targeted a convoy of a police chief, killing four of his bodyguards in central the ethnically mix city of Kirkuk, the source added.

Colonel Aras Mohammed, head of counter-terrorism department of Kirkuk province, survived unharmed the blast, which set ablaze one of his convoy's vehicles, he said.

The oil-rich Kirkuk province and its capital Kirkuk City are part of disputed areas between the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans. The area has long been the hotbed of insurgency since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The attacks in the city came a day after the Iraqi security forces carried out operations resulted in the capturing of six suspected al-Qaida militants, including Mohammed Adel Amin, who believed to be the provincial leader of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the al-Qaida front in the country.

The attacks also came after the killing of top al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan recently. His death prompted the Iraqi authorities to increase security alert in Iraqi cities as they expect deadly attacks to be carried out by al-Qaida militants in retaliation for bin Laden's killing.

In a statement posted on an Islamic website earlier in the month, Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, head of the ISI, mourned bin Laden's death and pledged to revenge for his killing, saying "I swear to God that it is the blood and the destruction" that will be for his death.

On the other hand, daily violence continued in Iraq when an unidentified Shiite cleric was killed by a sticky bomb explosion in his car in Bab al-Mu'adham area in downtown Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Two passersby were also wounded by the blast, the source said.

In Diyala province, a woman was killed and seven people wounded when a car bomb struck the convoy of a commander of a police commando unit while moving in an area located in east of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, a source from Diyala's operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Lieutenant Colonel Abdul-Hameed al-Shimmary, commander of Diyala's quick reaction third battalion, escaped unharmed the car bomb explosion despite damages in two of his vehicles, the source said.

Near Baghdad, gunmen planted bombs around a house of an Awakening Council group member in Abu Ghraib area, just west of Baghdad, and blew them up, killing him and wounding his wife and his two children, a local police source told Xinhua.

The Awakening Council group, or al-Sahwa in Arabic, consists of paramilitary groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after the latter exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.

Violence in the country underscore the challenges that the Iraqi security forces are facing as they struggle to restore stability and normalcy in Iraqi cities about eight months before the departure of all American forces by the end of 2011, according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

Source: Xinhua
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