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Middle east

Deadly string of attacks targets Iraqi security forces

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-14

A string of attacks apparently targeting security forces across central and western Iraq left at least 17 people dead and 50 wounded on Wednesday, officials said. The violence comes just months ahead of a planned US troop withdrawal.

AFP - A spate of attacks appearing to target security forces in central and west Iraq on Wednesday killed at least 17 people, including five policemen and two soldiers, officials said.

The violence, which also left around 50 wounded, comes with just months to go before US forces are set to withdraw from the country completely, with questions over the capabilities of their domestic counterparts.

In the deadliest attack, a car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant frequented by security force members in the town of Medhatiyah, just east of the central city of Hilla, in Babil province.

Provincial deputy governor Sadiq Rasul al-Mohannah put the toll at 13 dead and 42 wounded. He said three policemen were among the dead, and added that the casualties also included women and children.

Meanwhile, a "sticky bomb" attached to a vehicle inside an Iraqi air force base in the town of Habbaniyah, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Baghdad in mostly Sunni Anbar province, killed two soldiers and wounded 10 others, according to defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari.

"There was a sticky bomb against a bus carrying soldiers from the main entrance of the base to their positions inside the base," Askari told AFP.

An official at the morgue in Anbar capital Ramadi and the provincial security command centre confirmed the toll in the 8:00 am (0500 GMT) attack.

And in Baghdad, insurgents opened fire on a police checkpoint in the Qahira neighbourhood, in the capital's north, killing two policemen and wounding another, an interior ministry official said.

The unrest comes with US and Iraqi officials deliberating over whether to keep any American forces in the country beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal. Currently, around 47,000 troops are stationed here.

Security officials say Iraq's security forces are largely capable of maintaining internal security, but cannot yet security the country's borders, its maritime territory or its airspace.

Violence is down across Iraq from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. A total of 239 people were killed in violence in the country in August, according to official figures.

A total of 1,860 Iraqis have been killed since the beginning of the year, according to an AFP tally based on government figures.
 

Date created : 2011-09-14

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