New killings in Iraq push monthly toll to nearly 500

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Iraqis stand looking at a security forces convoy that patrols a street after local police took control of the Southern area of the city of Ramadi, west of the capital Baghdad in the Anbar province, on March 16, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Azher Shallal)

Published Sunday, March 30, 2014

Updated 2:30 pm: Attacks in Iraq killed nine people Sunday, hours after seven soldiers were shot dead at a checkpoint in a late-night attack by militants in the north, bringing the death toll to nearly 500 people so far this month.

A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives on a major bridge in Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad where security forces are still grappling to retain full control after militants took over several neighborhoods two months ago.

The blast killed seven people and wounded 10, and also badly damaged the Hauz Bridge, a key crossing used by civilians connecting the north and south of the city.

Ramadi originally had five bridges across the Euphrates River before a militant surge earlier this year.

But two are used exclusively by security forces, and two others – including the Hauz Bridge – have been damaged to the point they can no longer be used.

Civilians in Ramadi are now able to use only the Albu Faraj bridge in the north of the city.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, a mainly desert region in west Iraq that shares a border with Syria.

Elsewhere on Sunday, two police officers were killed by a roadside bomb that exploded near their car in Tikrit north of Baghdad.

The attacks came just hours after militants opened fire on an army checkpoint near the restive northern city of Mosul, killing seven soldiers in a late-night shooting.

In Mosul city itself, gunmen also killed a doctor.

Violence has surged in Iraq in the past year, with nearly 500 people killed so far this month, and upwards of 2,200 this year, according to an AFP tally.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


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