Attacks on civilians, forces kill 48 in Iraq

A wave of attacks targeting both Iraqi security forces and civilians killed 48 people on Monday in a second day of deadly violence ahead of the first anniversary of the withdrawal of US forces.

Monday was the deadliest day in Iraq since November 29, when 50 people were killed, and the latest violence comes after attacks killed 19 people and wounded 77 yesterday.
US military forces completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18 last year, ending a nearly nine-year war that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Violence in Iraq is down significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but while Iraqi forces have held their own since the US departure, insurgent groups still pose a significant threat, and attacks occur almost daily.Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint on the highway west of Tikrit, killing one policeman and wounding three, a senior police officer said.

A police patrol chased the gunmen, who abandoned their car and then detonated explosives in it, killing four more police and wounding two, the officer said. A doctor confirmed the toll. In the village of Al-Buslaibi, north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting an army patrol killed three soldiers, army and police officers said.

And gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in the north Iraqi city of Mosul, killing one soldier, an army officer and a doctor said.

A car bomb in Khaznah, a village near Mosul populated by the small Shabak minority, killed seven people and wounded 12, while two car bombs near a Shiite place of worship killed five and wounded 26 in the northern flashpoint town of Tuz Khurmatu, security and medical sources said.

Three roadside bombs exploded near Baquba, north of Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four others, while a magnetic “sticky bomb” and a shooting in the city killed two people and wounded six, police and medics said.

In other attacks in Diyala province, gunmen wounded three Kurds in Jalawla, while a sticky bomb killed two Kurds in Baladruz, according to the same sources. Khaznah, Tuz Khurmatu and Jalawla are all part of areas Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate, over Baghdad’s strong objections.

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