17 people killed in bomb, gunfire attacks in Iraq

17 people killed in bomb, gunfire attacks in Iraq
# 03 October 2011 19:29 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. A total of 17 people were killed Monday in separate attacks in Iraq, including a hostage-taking attack at a police station in the country’s western province of Anbar, the police said, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The deadliest attack in the day occurred when a group of gunmen and suicide bombers wearing military uniforms broke into the police station within the local government compound of the town of al-Baghdadi, some 170 km west of Baghdad.

One of the suicide bombers blew up his explosive belt at the entrance to the compound, while another bomber blew himself up inside the police station.

The attackers seized 14 hostages, including Mohanad Zbar Mutlag, mayor of the town, and Lieutenant Colonel Sadiq Aftan, chief of the police station, and holed up inside the compound.

Iraqi security forces cordoned off the compound and engaged with the gunmen, while some of them took positions on the roof of the police station and traded fire with the surrounding troops.

About two hours later, an Iraqi army force teamed up with commandoes stormed the compound and brought the situation under control, a source from Anbar operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"The Iraqi forces finally retook control of the compound, including the police station, after they killed five gunmen and arrested three others," the source said.

Five policemen were killed, including Aftan, the chief of the police station, while the troops rescued 13 other hostages, including the mayor of the town, the source added.

The source could not affirm whether the casualties came from the initial attack by the gunmen on the compound, or from the fighting that followed as the security forces retook control on the site.

However, officials from Anbar province told the state-run television of Iraqia that seven terrorists have been killed and two were arrested, while three security members and a civilian were killed by the attack.

Figures about death toll after attacks often vary in Iraq as officials usually cite reports from different sources.

Meanwhile, gunmen using assault rifles attacked another police station in the city of Hit, some 150 km west of Baghdad, killing two policemen at a checkpoint outside the police station and abducted a third before they fled the scene.

Authorities of the town of Baghdadi and other cities in the province, such as Haditha, some 200 km west of Baghdad and al-Qaim near the border with Syria, announced curfew starting from midday until further notice, as security forces in the province are in highest alert, the source said.

In Baghdad, an officer from the Iraqi intelligence service, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting by armed men while driving in Baghdad’s western district of al-Khadraa, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Also in Baghdad, another intelligence officer was shot dead by silenced weapons in the district of Qahira in northern the capital, the source said.

In northern Iraq, gunmen in their car shot dead Lieutenant Colonel Sakout al-Jabari in southern the city of Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua.

Jabari is the head of homicide investigations department of the town of Daquq, some 25 km south of Kirkuk, the source said.

In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Kurdish security force, named Peshmerga, near the town of Khanaqin, some 150 km northeast of Baghdad, killing one security member and wounding five others, a source from the provincial operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Afterwards, the attackers planted a bomb near the site of the first attack and blew it up when a vehicle carrying Kurdish reinforcement troops arrived at the scene, wounding three more Kurdish security members, the source said.

In a separate incident, a teacher was killed and his wife and son were injured when gunmen opened fire on their house in the village of Arab Jobour, near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, the source said.

Also in the province, gunmen blew up a bomb planted in the house of a policeman in al-Mafraq area, just west of Baquba, wounding three of his family members, including two women, the source added.

Separately, a civilian was injured when a sticky bomb detonated near a motorcycle in southern Baquba, he said.

Violence has been increased in the Iraqi cities as the Iraqi forces are preparing to take over control of security alone after the proposed departure of U.S. troops by the end of the withdrawal deadline in 2011.

The attacks raise questions about the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces to maintain security in the country ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline of U.S. troops’ withdrawal from the country.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011, according to security pact, named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

However, Iraq is reportedly negotiating with United States to let U.S. military trainers to stay in Iraq beyond the deadline only for training Iraqi forces.