x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Insurgents kill 22, wound dozens in Iraq attacks

A wave of insurgent attacks killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens in central and northern Iraq yesterday, the latest series of strikes aimed at undermining the government's authority.

Security personnel inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250km north of Baghdad. Two car bombs went off simultaneously in the ethnically mixed city, killing three people and wounding 10 others.
Security personnel inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250km north of Baghdad. Two car bombs went off simultaneously in the ethnically mixed city, killing three people and wounding 10 others.

BAGHDAD // A wave of insurgent attacks killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens in central and northern Iraq yesterday, the latest series of strikes aimed at undermining the government's authority.

One of the bloodiest blows came around midday, when a car bomb exploded near the local security forces headquarters in the northern city of Daqouq. As police rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, killing seven policemen. Another 35 people were hurt. Daqouq is located in Kirkuk province, which is home to a combustible mix of Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkomen. They all claim rights to the city and the oil-rich lands around it.

More than 100 people have been killed in violence across the country since the start of August, showing that insurgents led by Al Qaeda's Iraqi wing remain a lethal force eight months after the last US troops left the country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for yesterday's attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda's Iraqi branch. It has said it aims to reclaim areas from which it was routed by the US and its local allies.

The violence comes a day after militants staged attacks in northern Iraq that left 13 people dead.

The Al Qaeda offshoot, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, has for years had a hot-and-cold relationship with the global terror network's leadership.

Both attacks shared the goal of targeting the US military in Iraq and, to an extent, undermining the Shiite government that replaced Saddam Hussein's regime. But Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahri distanced themselves from the Iraqi militants in 2007 for also killing Iraqi civilians instead of focusing on western targets.