Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

22 killed in suicide bombings north of Baghdad

At least 22 people have been killed in suicide attacks by Islamic militants in Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

Five suicide bombers on foot targeted a police patrol and broke into a police officer's house in Tikrit's al-Zihoor neighbourhood, according to a Salahuddin provincial council member.

Ahmed al-Karim said that security forces managed to kill three of the bombers while two blew themselves up.

Ten police officers were among the dead and up to 31 people were wounded in the attacks, he added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings but Islamic State militants have carried out scores of similar attacks to detract from the fighting in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

The Sunni extremist group frequently targets Iraqi security forces and civilians in urban areas.

Iraqi forces drove out IS militants from Tikrit in April 2015. Since then, IS militants have launched a number of big attacks in and around Tikrit, located about 80 miles north of Baghdad.

IS has suffered a string of defeats over the past two years - most recently in the Mosul operation where Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, are battling to drive the extremists out of the western part of the city, a more densely populated area.

Eastern Mosul, which is separated by the Tigris river from the western part of the city, was declared liberated from IS in January.

Despite the severe setbacks, the Islamic State group has managed to regularly launch attacks in some Iraqi cities. A series of large-scale bombings claimed by IS has also struck Baghdad since the operation to retake Mosul began in October.

Iraqi and US-led international coalition officials have repeatedly warned that after Mosul, IS will likely return to its insurgent roots as it loses more territory in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

AP

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph