Suicide bomber kills at least six in northern Iraq: Police
BAGHDAD - Reuters
A woman walks past the site of a car bomb attack outside an ice cream parlour in the Al-Mashtal district in Baghdad, October 19, 2013. REUTERS PhotoEight suicide bombers targeted police and local officials in Rawa, northwest of Baghdad, killing eight people on Sunday, while seven died in other attacks in Iraq, officials said.
The attacks come as Iraq witnesses its worst violence since 2008 -- when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict -- and amid mounting fears that the civil war in neighbouring Syria could spill across the border.
The dead from the Sunday suicide bombings included three members of the local council for the Rawa area of Anbar province, three police, a child and another person, while 28 people were wounded, Doctor Wael Fawzi told AFP.
Police Captain Mohammed Ahmed 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.
Another three bombers on foot and a fourth in a vehicle attacked the local administrative headquarters. Local council member Suhaib al-Rawi said officials were meeting at the building when the bombers struck.
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 (45 miles) 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.
Also on Sunday, a roadside bomb and a car bomb exploded near a police lieutenant colonel's convoy south of Samarra, to the north of Baghdad, killing six people and wounding seven.
A man who sold meat from a stand south of Baghdad was shot dead, while a roadside bomb in the capital itself wounded six people.
The surge in violence this year, 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 450 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.