Iraqi of­fi­cials say 17 killed in car bomb blast

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BAGHDAD: A car bomb ex­ploded Sun­day out­side govern­ment of­fices in a prov­ince west of the Iraqi cap­i­tal, killing 17 peo­ple, of­fi­cials said. It was the lat­est deadly hit on a fa­vorite in­sur­gent tar­get.

At least 23 peo­ple were also wounded in Sun­day's blast, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to brief the me­dia.

An­bar Deputy Gov. Saadoun Obeid said a traf­fic jam out­side the pro­vin­cial coun­cil com­pound in Ra­madi, cap­i­tal of An­bar prov­ince, kept the sui­cide bomber from reach­ing the front gate.

He said Gov. Qasim alFa­hadawi, who lost an arm in a sim­i­lar strike a year ago, and other se­nior An­bar of­fi­cials were not in the build­ing dur­ing the ex­plo­sion, which blamed on al-Qaida.

"The at­tack is a hall­mark of al-Qaida, and we ex­pect such attacks on govern­ment build­ings as a nat­u­ral re­ac­tion by this ter­ror­ist group to the ar­rest of most of its se­nior lead­ers in An­bar," Obeid said. "They want to take re­venge for their lat­est de­feats."

Po­lice found a sec­ond bomb in a nearby park­ing lot a few min­utes later, but said they det­o­nated it in a safe area.

The com­pound in Ra­madi, 70 miles (115 kilo­me­ters) west of Baghdad, also houses the An­bar po­lice head­quar­ters and the gover­nor's of­fice.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials in An­bar, a for­mer strong­hold of al-Qaida mil­i­tants and Sunni in­sur­gents, have fre­quently been tar­geted by in­sur­gents.

Last De­cem­ber, the

he Is­lamic state of Iraq, an alQaida front group, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for an at­tack on the same com­pound. That at­tack caused al-Fa­hadawi to lose an arm and un­dergo leg surgery in the United States.

And in July, a fe­male sui­cide bomber blew her­self up at a re­cep­tion room out­side alFa­hadawi's of­fice. AlFa­hadawi was not there at the time, but the blast co­in­cided with a trip to Iraq by Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, un­der­cut­ting his op­ti­mistic pre­dic­tions of a peace­ful tran­si­tion of power as the nation was be­set by po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty.

The attacks high­light the per­sis­tent ef­forts by in­sur­gents to un­der­mine se­cu­rity in Iraq as U.S. troops pre­pare to leave by the end of next year as part of an agree­ment be­tween Washington and Baghdad. -Ap

TU­NIS: Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Nuri al-Ma­liki (R) and Pres­i­dent Jalal Tal­a­bani (L) at­tend with Kur­dish leader Mas­sud Barzani (C) a congress of his Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party in the north­ern city of Ar­bil on De­cem­ber 11, 2010. -Ap

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