Suicide Bombers Kill 20 Near Baghdad

Suicide Bombers Kill 20 Near BaghdadSuicide Bombers Kill 20 Near Baghdad

More than a dozen suicide bombers attacked a residential and government complex outside Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least six people, as well as a gas factory near Baghdad in which 14 people were killed and 20 wounded, Iraqi officials said.

The police chief of the town of Amiriyat Fallujah, Col. Ali al-Issawi, said at least 14 suicide attackers broke into the complex at dawn. In addition to homes, the complex also includes a police station and several government offices, AP reported.

Issawi said five of the attackers blew up themselves while clashing with security forces, while others holed up inside the buildings, and were later killed. He added that five troops and one civilian were killed, while another 18 people were wounded.

The town is located a few miles south of Fallujah, the main stronghold of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Anbar province, about 65 km west of Baghdad.

IS still controls key areas in northern and western Iraq, including the country’s second largest city, Mosul. The extremist group has declared a caliphate on the territory it holds in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi troops, backed by paramilitary militias and US airstrikes, have recaptured a number of cities and towns in recent months. But IS has responded with a string of deadly bombings far from the frontlines in a campaign that Iraqi officials say is an attempt to distract from their battlefield losses.

More than 100 people have been killed in a string of bombings, mainly in Baghdad, since Wednesday.

 Attack on Gas Plant

The other IS assault began when three car bombs exploded at the gate of the plant in Taji, north of the capital.

Six men wearing explosive belts rushed in and blew up gas tanks, before security forces won back the facility, BBC reported.

It has claimed the latest incident, which began after dawn at the Taji facility, 20 km north of Baghdad.

A fireball shot up into the air as the three gas tanks were blown up by the militants who stormed the plant.

Those killed in the blasts are reported to include workers as well as members of the security forces.

Although IS has suffered recent setbacks in both Iraq and Syria, such an elaborate attack close to Baghdad underlines the threat the group still poses.

It comes four days after car bombs killed 93 people in a market in a Shia Muslim area of Baghdad on Wednesday.

The attack—the deadliest in the capital so far this year—was also claimed by IS.

Meanwhile, Iraq remains in political crisis. Divisions among political factions have prevented the formation of a new Cabinet. The deadlock has raised concerns about the government’s ability to fight IS.