55 killed in Iraq at­tacks

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Around 55 peo­ple were killed in Iraq in at­tacks yes­ter­day that tar­geted a Shi­ite gath­er­ing, a police check­point and the fam­ily of a Sunni para­mil­i­tary leader op­posed to Is­lamic State, ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity and med­i­cal sources. The es­ca­la­tion comes as Iraqi forces are get­ting ready to launch an of­fen­sive to take back Mo­sul, the last Iraqi city still un­der con­trol of Is­lamic State, in north­ern Iraq.

The heav­i­est toll was caused by a sui­cide bomber who det­o­nated an ex­plo­sive vest in the mid­dle of a Shi­ite gath­er­ing in Bagh­dad, killing at least 41 peo­ple and wound­ing 33. The ex­plo­sion went off in­side a tent filled with peo­ple tak­ing part in Shi­ite Ashoura rit­u­als, which mourn the killing of Prophet Muham­mad’s (PBUH) grand­son Hus­sein in the 7th cen­tury. Is­lamic State claimed the at­tack in an online state­ment. Some peo­ple were also in the tent to mourn the death of a lo­cal res­i­dent, au­thor­i­ties said. The tent was set up in a crowded mar­ket in the city’s north­ern Al-Shaab district.

A wit­ness said the bomber en­tered the funeral tent and blew him­self up as lunch was be­ing served. “I saw with my eyes 20 mar­tyrs on the ground,” the wit­ness said. Blood stained the ground at the scene of the at­tack, which was lit­tered with the re­mains of plas­tics chairs mourn­ers had been seated on.

Gun­men be­lieved to be­long to Is­lamic State ear­lier in the day staged two at­tacks north of Bagh­dad, one tar­get­ing a police check­point and the other the

house of a Sunni mili­tia chief who sup­ports the govern­ment, police sources said. Eight po­lice­men were killed and 11 oth­ers wounded in the first at­tack which took place Mu­taibija, south of the city of the city of Tikrit, while the mil­i­tants had three dead in their ranks.

In the sec­ond, the wife and three chil­dren of Nu­man Al-Mu­ja­maie, the leader of the Ishaqi Mo­bi­liza­tion mili­tia, were killed when gun­men stormed his house in the town of Ishaq in his ab­sence. The as­sailants fled, chased by se­cu­rity forces, and later killed them­selves by det­o­nat­ing ex­plo­sive belts, police said. Is­lamic State has in­ten­si­fied bomb at­tacks in govern­ment-held ar­eas this year as it loses ter­ri­tory to US-backed Iraqi govern­ment forces and Ira­nian-backed Shi­ite mili­tias.

The group claimed a truck bomb­ing in July that killed at least 324 peo­ple in the Kar­rada shop­ping area of Bagh­dad - the dead­li­est sin­gle at­tack in Iraq since the US-led in­va­sion that top­pled Sad­dam Hus­sein in 2003.

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