BAGHDAD (AP) — Three suicide car bombs driven by foreigners targeted the remote desert border crossing between Iraq and Jordan Saturday killing at least four Iraqi soldiers, said Iraqi officials.
The attack was immediately claimed by the radical Islamic State group on its twitter account, which said the attack was perpetrated by Belgian, French and Senegalese militants and claimed a much higher death toll.
The statement, which was translated by the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, said the men targeted the dining facility, an army patrol and the border crossing itself. Pictures of the alleged French and Belgian bombers suggest they were of Middle Eastern origin.
Sabah Karhout, head of the local council of the Trebill crossing area, said three soldiers were killed along with Capt. Salah al-Dulaimi, the head of the border post's protection force.
Twelve Iraqis were taken across the border and treated for their wounds, said a Jordanian official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The attack came as there was fierce fighting on the other side of Anbar province north of the IS-controlled city of Fallujah after an ambush Friday killed an Iraqi general and staff officers.
Militants launched a complex attack on Friday involving a bulldozer packed with explosives against a convoy as it approached an army base guarding a lock system on the canal between Lake Tharthar and the Euphrates River.
The attack killed Iraqi 1st Division commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Abbas Toufan and three staff officers as well as 10 other soldiers, said Lt. Gen. Mohammed Khalaf al-Dulaimi of the Anbar operations command.
Residents of Fallujah said that Islamic State militants paraded an officer and three soldiers allegedly captured in the fighting through the streets in a pickup truck on Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Troops, including tanks, have been rushed to the area and were fighting Saturday in this rural region dotted with small villages.
Last year, the Islamic State overran large sections of the country. In recent months, the Iraqi army, backed by the Popular Mobilization Units of Shiite and Sunni militia fighters, has been gradually retaking territory.
In other violence Saturday, a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in Baghdad's southeastern Jisr Diyala suburb, killing four people and wounding 11, police and hospital officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad and Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan contributed to this report.