52 killed in Iraq violence

Baghdad, April 3: A total of 52 people were killed and 32 others wounded Thursday in violent attacks across Iraq, including 40 militants killed in a single battle with Iraqi forces, police said.

The deadliest incident occurred near Iraqi capital Baghdad when security forces fiercely clashed with gunmen who tried to storm a military base in Dwiyliba area outside the town of Yousifiyah, some 25 km south of Baghdad, Xinhua reported citing an interior ministry statement.

“Iraqi security forces confronted and foiled an attempt by Daash gang members to break into a military base,” the statement said, referring to the Arabic first letters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant group.

The battle resulted in the killing of 40 militants and one army officer, as well as the seizing of two heavy machine-guns, 15 rifles and five grenade launchers, according to the statement.

In Iraq’s northern central province of Salahudin, three people were killed and 14 others wounded in a car bomb explosion near a popular restaurant in Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of the provincial capital Tikrit, a provincial police source said.

In a separate incident, Jawdat Kadhim, a professor and assistant dean of Tikrit University, was wounded when unidentified gunmen attacked his car on a highway after he left the university in northern Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, sources said.

Earlier in the day, a leader of a local Al Qaeda militant group and three of his aides were killed during an operation by Iraqi security forces in Aiyn al-Jahash area, south of Mosul city, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a local police source said.

Near Baghdad, a civilian was killed and 11 others wounded when a car bomb ripped through the city of Mahmoudiyah, some 30 km south of the capital, a local police source said.

In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, two policemen were killed and four others wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol near the town of Buhruz near the provincial capital city Baquba, a provincial police source said.

Separately, police found a male body in his 30s with bullet holes in his head and chest dumped outside a cemetery near Baquba, sources said.

Also in the province, a woman and her daughter were wounded in a bomb explosion at a marketplace in Baquba, the source added.

Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.

IANS