A multiple attacks targeted security forces in central and west Iraq on Wednesday and killed at least 19 people including five policemen and two soldiers, officials said. The violence, which also left around 57 wounded, comes with just months to go before US forces are set to withdraw from Iraq completely, with questions over the capabilities of their domestic counterparts.
In the deadliest attack, a car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant frequented by security force members in the town of Medhatiyah, just east of the central city of Hilla, in Babil province. Provincial deputy governor Sadiq Rasul al-Mohannah put the toll at 15 dead and 44 wounded. He said three policemen were among the dead, and added that the casualties also included women and children.
Meanwhile, a “sticky bomb” attached to a vehicle inside an Iraqi air force base in the town of Habbaniyah, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Baghdad in mostly Sunni Anbar province, killed two soldiers and wounded 14 others, according to defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari. “There was a sticky bomb against a bus carrying soldiers from the main entrance of the base to their positions inside the base.