Security forces targeted in Iraq attacks

A spate of attacks targeting security forces in the heart of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul killed about 30 people on Monday, the bloodiest day in the country in three weeks.

In Baghdad, 15 people were killed and dozens wounded, including young police recruits and civilians, when a suicide bomber and a car bomb exploded in quick succession near the police academy, the Interior Ministry said, while the Baghdad security office said 11 died.

Hours later, another 15 people were killed and 30 wounded in a suicide car bombing against a joint United States-Iraqi patrol in Mosul, police said, although the US military gave a lower toll.

The bloodshed came as official Iraqi ministry figures showed that violence across the nation had climbed in November, with 340 Iraqis killed.

In the Baghdad strike, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the police academy on Palestine street, shortly before a parked car exploded, the Interior Ministry said.

It said 15 people were killed and 45 wounded, while office of the Baghdad security plan said 11 people lost their lives and 34 were wounded.

The blasts occurred between the academy and the Water Resources Ministry on a stretch of road that had been reopened only two months ago after being closed for two years following a suicide attack.

In Mosul, a police officer said a suicide bomber blew his car up in the path of a joint patrol between Iraqi police and the American military, police and the Interior Ministry said, adding that majority of the victims were policemen.

The US military said nine Iraqis were killed, including two policemen, while 40 people were hurt including a US soldier.

“The investigation is ongoing and the battle damage assessment may change,” it said in a statement.

Military commanders say Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, is the last urban bastion of al-Qaeda in the country.

It was the deadliest day in Iraq since November 10, when 28 people were killed, including women and schoolgirls, in a triple bombing in a market in the Sunni Baghdad district of Adhamiyah.

Another three people were killed on Monday in a roadside bombing in the Iraqi capital targeting a senior Defence Ministry general, who was wounded.

“General Mazher al-Mawlah, a Defence Ministry advisor, was hit by an explosive device when he left his house this morning in the area of al-Sleikh in north Baghdad,” an official said.

“His driver and two passers-by were killed, while 10 other people, including two of his bodyguards, were wounded in the attack.”

Ministry spokesperson Major General Mohammed al-Askari said the attack “directly targeted” Mawlah, who is in charge of issues related to Iraqi former officers, and works on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s national reconciliation project.

Al-Maliki has called on members of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Ba’ath party to rejoin the political process and former members of his armed forces to abandon the insurgency and join Iraq’s new security forces.

The government says it has now brought hundreds of former Ba’athists back into public life, while Parliament has approved a law rehabilitating even quite senior former party members.

Figures released by the ministries of interior, health and defence said 340 people were killed in November—up from 317 the previous month.

The November toll was 297 civilians, 29 police officers and 14 soldiers killed and 728 Iraqis wounded. Most of those killed were found in communal graves across the country, the Defence Ministry said.

Sixty insurgents were also killed, and another 875 were reported arrested.

In October 278 civilians, 21 police and 18 soldiers were killed.

US military losses also rose last month, with 17 troops killed compared with 13 in October and 25 in September, according to the independent website www.icasualties.org.

Since the March 2003 US-led invasion, 4 207 members of the American military have been killed in Iraq, according to an Agence France-Presse toll compiled from icasualties.org.—AFP

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