Iraq officials say attacks around capital kill 10

AP News
Posted: Feb 23, 2014 12:47 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants launched separate attacks shortly after sunset Sunday around the Iraqi capital, killing at least 10 people, officials said.

The deadliest took place in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City when a car bomb exploded in an outdoor market for secondhand motorcycles and bicycles, killing six civilians and wounding 21, a police officer said.

Another police officer said a bomb-laden motorcycle exploded in Baghdad's northern Waziriyah neighborhood, killing three civilians and wounding 12.

Gunmen in a speeding car also attacked a police checkpoint in the nearby town of Tarmiyah, killing one and wounding three, authorities said. The town, a former insurgent stronghold, is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad.

Three medical officials confirmed the casualty figures.

Insurgents have intensified attacks since last year in an attempt to undermine government efforts to maintain security nationwide. Last year was the deadliest since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007. According to United Nations figures, 8,868 people were killed.

Also Sunday, officials said a military helicopter crashed the day before in a remote area west of the capital, killing its four-member crew.

The helicopter went down late Saturday outside Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib due to technical failure, a military officer said. He added that a pilot and three assistants were killed.

A police officer confirmed the incident and the casualty figures.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Since late December, Iraq's western cities have seen fierce clashes pitting government security forces and their allies from tribal Sunni militias against al-Qaida-linked militants and other insurgent groups. The insurgents hold the city of Fallujah and the Anbar provincial capital, Ramadi.

On Saturday, Iraqi authorities announced a three-day halt of military operations in Fallujah as a "goodwill" gesture. They said the halt began Friday and will last through Monday after requests from clerics and tribal sheiks to halt the bloodletting.

But residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, said Sunday that gunfire could be heard.


Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.


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