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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Four killed in ISIL suicide attack on Iraq party HQ

The two suicide bombers were disguised as soldiers as they entered the headquarters

Iraqi forces are seen outside the town of Akashat, northwest of the Al Anbar province, as they prepare a military operation to push out ISIL from the nearby areas, on September 15, 2017. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP
Iraqi forces are seen outside the town of Akashat, northwest of the Al Anbar province, as they prepare a military operation to push out ISIL from the nearby areas, on September 15, 2017. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP

A suicide attack targeting a political party headquarters in western Iraq has killed four people and injured seven others, including a candidate in polls set for May, officials said on Sunday.

ISIL issued a statement claiming the attack, which took place late Saturday in the tribal desert province of Al Anbar, primarily home to Sunni Muslims.

A local security official said on condition of anonymity that "two suicide bombers disguised as soldiers entered the Al Hal Party headquarters", a prominent party in the region.

One of the attackers "detonated his explosive belt while political leaders held a meeting" at the campaign headquarters in the city of Hit, about 200 kilometres west of Baghdad, General Qassam Al Mohammadi, head of army operations in the area, said.

"Three members of the security forces were killed and seven people, including candidate Zineb Abdel Hamid Al Hiti, were wounded," he said.

A municipal employee on Sunday also succumbed to injuries sustained in the attack, the anonymous official said.

He said the second attacker detonated his belt shortly after the first, but did not cause any casualties.

Medical sources confirmed the death toll of four and said candidate Hiti had been hospitalised with light injuries.

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Read more: Fifteen years after Saddam fell, where does Iraq stand now?

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Sunnis are a minority in Iraq, where more than two-thirds of the population is Shiite Muslim.

For three years, ISIL ruled the province, which stretches from the western periphery of the capital to the border with war-torn Syria.

In December, Baghdad declared "victory" against ISIL after retaking the group's last urban stronghold in Al Anbar.

But according to experts, extremists are still hiding along the porous border with Syria and in parts of the Iraqi desert.

Elections held in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime have all been marred by deadly violence.

But in the run-up to the May 12 polls, the country has enjoyed a respite from violence.

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