Assaults Kill 21, Wound 105 in Three Iraqi Cities

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Wreckage of a car is seen after a suicide attack affiliated with ISIS outside the Qasr Hotel in Kirkuk, Iraq on January 30, 2015. Anadolu

Published Friday, January 30, 2015

Updated at 2:18 pm (GMT+2): Strikes and suicide attacks in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk killed at least 21 and wounded 105 on Friday, according to security and medical sources.

At least 12 civilians were killed on Friday morning when two bombs exploded in central Baghdad, security sources said.

An initial blast in the Bab al-Sharqi district was followed by a car bomb. At least 30 people were also wounded in the attack.

The area is home to a large market and lies across the Tigris river from the Green Zone, which houses most government buildings.

On Friday, militants also struck at Kurdish forces southwest of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Police sources said Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters launched mortars and attacked positions of Kurdish peshmerga in four districts of Kirkuk city.

ISIS has frequently battled Iraqi security forces and pro-government militias further south and west since the group captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria last summer, but
attacks on the outskirts of Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk have been less frequent.

The assault on areas south and west of Kirkuk began around midnight, sparking fighting with medium and heavy weapons that lasted until Friday morning, a police brigadier general said.

Medical sources said at least six Kurdish fighters were killed in the fighting, including senior commander Brigadier Sherko Fatih, and at least 70 others were wounded.

The senior Kurdish commander’s death was widely reported on Twitter accounts of people affiliated with ISIS.

More than 750 peshmerga have been killed in combat since ISIS overran their defenses in northern Iraq last summer, prompting US-led airstrikes.

The Kirkuk province security committee announced a curfew beginning at 10:00 am on Friday, saying it would be in effect until further notice.

Meanwhile, police in the northern city of Samarra, about 125 kilometers from the capital, said two suicide bombers targeted a security checkpoint in the city center, killing at least three and wounding five members of the police and pro-government militias.

Police say they foiled a third suicide attack by shooting a suspected militant, but clashes broke out on the western outskirts of Samarra following another explosion, with police and militias battling ISIS fighters.

On Thursday, at least 21 people were killed in bombings at five separate locations, including Mishahada, and a shooting on the outskirts of Baghdad.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


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