Suicide bombers kill six in Iraq

Published October 20, 2013
A vehicle burns at the scene of a car bomb attack - File photo
A vehicle burns at the scene of a car bomb attack - File photo

RAMADI: Eight suicide bombers Sunday targeted police and local officials in Rawa, northwest of Baghdad, killing six people in the second major attack in the area in less than a month.

The bombings come as Iraq witnesses its worst violence since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.

The dead from the Sunday suicide bombings were three members of the local council for the Rawa area of Anbar province and three police, police Captain Mohammed Ahmed al-Rawi and local council member Suhaib al-Rawi said.

Two suicide bombers on foot and another driving a vehicle rigged with explosives attacked the police headquarters for the area, while another driving a vehicle hit an army checkpoint at the town's entrance.

Moreover, three other bombers on foot and another in a vehicle attacked the local administrative headquarters, where officials were meeting.

Militants, including those linked to Al Qaeda, frequently target Iraqi security forces and other government employees.

It was the second attack in less than a month to hit Rawa, which is located about 75 kilometres from the border with war-racked Syria.

On September 24, militants attacked two police stations and a local official's house in Rawa and the nearby town of Aana, killing seven police and the official's brother.

Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi told journalists a large group of militants had attacked Aana that day, seeking to take control of security force positions, and that six of the militants were killed.

While Anbar province was infamous for its militant strongholds in past years, the province has seen relatively few attacks in recent weeks, with most of the violence concentrated in Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces.

The violence, which has included sectarian attacks, has raised fears of a relapse into the intense bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.

Analysts say the Shiite-led government's failure to address the grievances of Iraq's Sunni Arab minority - which complains of political exclusion and abuses by security forces - has driven the surge in unrest this year.

Violence worsened sharply after security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on April 23, sparking clashes in which dozens died.

The authorities have made some concessions aimed at placating the protesters and Sunnis in general, such as freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-Al Qaeda fighters, but the underlying issues remain unaddressed.

With the latest attacks, more than 440 people have been killed so far this month, and over 5,150 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

A study released this month by academics based in Canada, Iraq and the United States said nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.

In addition to major security problems, the Iraqi government has failed to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.

Political squabbling has paralysed the government, while parliament has passed almost no major legislation in years.

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