Iraq attacks kill 33 people: officials
BAGHDAD: Iraq attacks mainly targeting security force personnel killed at least 33 people on Thursday, officials said, after government figures showed July was the bloodiest month in almost two years.
At least 39 people have been killed in violence in the first two days of August, which have seen a number of attacks on security forces and their facilities, including a prison, a military site and checkpoints.
At least nine people were killed and at least 32 wounded in a car bombing in the Husseiniyah area of north Baghdad, medical officials said.
In the northern oil city of Kirkuk, militants attacked the home of a Turkmen family, cutting the throats of a father, mother and two daughters, an AFP correspondent reported.
Gunmen killed seven soldiers and wounded 11 others in three separate attacks south of the city, according to security and medical officials and Shalal Abed Ahmed, mayor of Tuz Khurmatu, where one of the attacks took place.
Gunmen also shot dead four police in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, while three members of the Sahwa anti-Qaeda militia were killed by a bomb near Balad, also north of the capital, security and medical officials said.
And gunmen attacked a checkpoint near a police station northeast of Samarra, killing one police and one Sahwa member, a police captain and a hospital source in Samarra said.
An army officer said that gunmen attacked a checkpoint near Dujail, north of Baghdad, killing a soldier and kidnapping four others.
And Colonel Obeid Ibrahim al-Kataa was killed along with two other police in clashes with gunmen who tried to take control of a checkpoint in Al-Rutba, in the far west, police officers said.
In the Euphrates Valley, a police major said a patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in Haditha, wounding four police, while three police were wounded in another attack by gunmen on a checkpoint east of the town.
South of Kirkuk, six gunmen wearing explosive belts tried to attack a military site but five of them were killed and the sixth seriously wounded and the attack failed, Staff Brigadier General Mohammed Khalaf Saeed al-Dulaimi said.
And a police captain said that three gunmen, one of them wearing an explosive belt, tried to attack a police checkpoint in Baiji, north of Baghdad, but all three were killed.
Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq has said it will look to retake territory in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in an offensive slammed by Washington as “cowardly”, and appealed for Sunni Arab tribes to send fighters in a recording posted in the name of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The message posted on various jihadist forums said the ISI would begin targeting judges and prosecutors, and try to help its prisoners break out of jails.
The latest violence comes a day after official figures put the number of people killed in attacks in July at 325, the highest monthly death toll since August 2010.
While violence has decreased compared to its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common across Iraq. There were attacks on 27 of the 31 days in July.