Bomb blasts claim 58 lives

BAGHDAD. — Up to 58 people were killed in separate bomb attacks and air-strikes in central and northern Iraq yesterday, security sources said.

In Iraq’s northern central province of Salahudin, a bomb exploded near a group of young men who were gathered at a recruitment centre at a military base near the town Amerli, some 70 km east of the provincial capital Tikrit.

The blast killed three recruits and wounded five others, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The recruits were gathering to sign up to join government-backed Shiite paramilitary groups, known as al-Hashed al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization, the source said.

Also in the province, a roadside bomb went off near a mosque in the town of Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of Tikrit, killing two people and wounding four others, the source added.

Salahudin is a Sunni-dominated province, and its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, is the hometown to former President Saddam Hussein.

Elsewhere, two sticky bombs attached to a car in the town of Yousifiyah, some 20 km south of Baghdad, went off leaving two policemen killed and three people wounded, a police source on condition of anonymity.

In the volatile province of Anbar, 23 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed late on Monday night when the security forces blew up a tunnel dug by the IS militants to reach to the fortified provincial government compound in the capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

The troops earlier discovered the 700-meter tunnel in the al-Houz district, which is adjacent to the government compound and planted bombs in it, waiting for the extremist militants to use it and then to blow it up, the source said.

Separately, Iraqi Sukhoi jet fighters conducted airstrikes targeting the positions of the IS militants in and near the town of Garma, just east of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source said.

The airstrikes destroyed a house and killed six people from one family, while seven people were killed and 17 wounded on the edge of the town, the source said.

Also in the province, police forces clashed with the IS militants near the battlefield town of al-Baghdadi, some 200 km north-west of Baghdad, and managed to seize a water supply facility after killing at least 15 extremist militants, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The IS group has seized around 80 percent of Iraq’s largest province Anbar and tried to advance toward Baghdad, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shiite militias have pushed them back from western areas of the capital.

The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10 last year, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS, an al-Qaida offshoot.

The IS has taken control of the country’s northern province of Nineveh, and then seized swathes of territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in other predominantly Sunni provinces. — Xinhua.

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