Suicide Truck Bomb Kills Six Pro-Gov’t Fighters in Iraq’s Samarra

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Published Monday, February 2, 2015

At least six people were killed and 28 others were injured in a suicide truck bomb attack on a checkpoint of pro-government volunteering fighters in central Iraq Monday, security sources said.

The attack in the region of Sur Shenas in Samarra city was blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which published on Sunday photos showing its execution of three Iraqi security personnel.

All six killed on Monday were members of al-Hashed al-Shaabi, a Shia volunteer fighting group, the sources added.

The group was established after a fatwa for jihad against ISIS was given in June 2014 by Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Iraq has been gripped by a security vacuum since June 2014 when ISIS spearheaded a sweeping militant offensive that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad. The group also holds significant territory in neighboring Syria, and has declared a “caliphate” in areas under its control.

The brutal militant group has killed thousands of people in both countries, targeting in particular ethnic and religious minorities, some of them in highly-choreographed videotaped sequences in which the victims are beheaded.

According to pictures posted online Sunday, ISIS beheaded an Iraqi police officer and two soldiers, the latest in a long series of atrocities committed by the jihadists.

In one photo, a blindfolded man said to be a police lieutenant colonel kneels in a street in front of a row of gunmen.

A masked militant is then shown beheading the victim with a machete, after which his severed head is placed atop his body and the machete driven into his back.

Another photo shows an overweight masked militant apparently struggling to behead a man identified as a captured Iraqi soldier. A second soldier was beheaded at the same location, according to another photo of the scene.

The authenticity of the photos could not be independently confirmed.

The United Nations said on Sunday that violence in Iraq had killed 1,375 people in January.

"A total of 1,375 Iraqis were killed and another 2,240 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in January," the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said.

UNAMI said at least 1,101 people were killed in December, capping the most violent year for Iraq since 2007, when sectarian bloodshed in the country was at its peak.

UNAMI said the worst affected city was the capital, Baghdad, with 256 civilians killed and 758 wounded. Moreover, at least 2,240 civilians and soldiers were wounded during the same period.

However, the UN numbers do not include territories held by ISIS.

Iraqi security forces, backed by Kurdish troops, pro-government volunteering fighters, and tribesmen, along minor aid from US-led campaign of airstrikes, have managed to regain some ground from ISIS.

Still, the jihadists control significant territory, including some major cities like Mosul and Falluja.

(Anadolu, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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