Series of attacks kills 31 in Iraq

BAGHDAD: A series of at least 10 attacks across Iraq, including a bombing at a state-owned oil company, killed 31 people and wounded more than 80 others, security and medical officials said on Sunday.

The latest violence brings the number of people killed in attacks so far this month to 61, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.

The deadliest attack saw gunmen open fire on an Iraqi army checkpoint near Balad north of Baghdad shortly before midnight on Saturday, followed by a roadside bomb that exploded when additional soldiers arrived.

Eleven soldiers, including two officers, were killed and eight others were wounded, an army colonel and a medical source at Balad hospital said.

On Sunday a car bomb exploded about 7:30 am (0430 GMT) in a car park at the rear gate of the state-owned North Oil Company, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the northern city of Kirkuk, killing seven people and wounding 17 others, a high-ranking police officer and Dr Othman Abdul Rahman said.

The victims were seeking to join a force that guards oil facilities, the officer said.

The North Oil Company is responsible for oil exports from northern Iraq.

In Hawija, west of Kirkuk, a car bomb wounded two people, security and medical sources said.

Volatile, oil-rich Kirkuk province is part of a swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate against Baghdad’s wishes.

Attacks in Tuz Khurmatu, 175 kilometres (110 miles) north of Baghdad killed four people and wounded 31, its mayor Shalal Abdul and police Lieutenant Colonel Khaled al-Bayati said.

A car bomb targeted a convoy of Abdul’s bodyguards, wounding 10 people, followed by a roadside bomb near a police station that killed two people and wounded 20.

And gunmen shot dead police Captain Jassem al-Bayati, while Second Lieutenant Ghalib al-Bayati was wounded in the attack.

In the southern port city of Basra, a car bomb in a market killed two people and wounded eight others, according to security and medical officials.

In Nasiriyah, 305 kilometres (190 miles) south of Baghdad, a bomb exploded around 9:00 am (0600 GMT) near the French honorary consulate, causing material damage and wounding an unspecified number of people, a French diplomat said.

Nasiriyah’s website put the toll from the bombing at one dead and one wounded.

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded in front of a hotel in Nasiriyah, killing two people and wounding four others, according to the head of the Nasiriyah hospital Ahmed Abdul Saheb and a security source.

In Tal Afar 380 kilometres (240 miles) northwest of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded about 8:30 am (0530 GMT) killing two people and wounding seven, police First Lieutenant Abed Ghayib and Dr Waad Mohammed from Tal Afar hospital said.

And south of Samarra, a city north of Baghdad, another car bomb killed two police, including Colonel Thair Idris, and wounded two others, a police lieutenant colonel and a medical source said.

Source: AFP