Triple suicide bombing in Iraq kills 26 Kurds

BAGHDAD (AP) — A triple suicide bombing killed 26 Kurdish security forces northeast of Baghdad on Sunday and a roadside bomb killed the police chief of the western Anbar province, dealing major blows to Iraqi security forces struggling to combat the Islamic State extremist group.

The triple attack took place in Qara Tappah, in the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province, according to an official from the Kurdish Asayish security forces. He said the first bomber detonated an explosives vest at the gateway to a security compound that also houses the office of a main Kurdish political party. Minutes later, two suicide bombers plowed cars filled with explosives into the compound, causing heavy damage. At least 60 people were wounded in the attack.   

The Islamic State extremist group claimed the attack, saying it was carried out by three non-Iraqi jihadists. The authenticity of the online statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a Twitter account frequently used by the militant group.

The group has seized some towns in the volatile Diyala province and has clashed with Kurdish forces there. Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

In the Anbar attack, Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Dulaimi was killed while traveling in a convoy north of the provincial capital Ramadi through an area cleared by Iraqi security forces a day earlier, according to Anbar councilman Faleh al-Issawi. It was not immediately clear if others were killed or wounded.

The Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants seized the Anbar city of Fallujah, parts of Ramadi and large rural areas of Anbar early this year. The loss of Fallujah — where American troops engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year U.S. intervention in the country — foreshadowed the later loss of second city Mosul and much of the north.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed al-Dulaimi’s death, calling him a “hero who set a good example for self-sacrifice.” It praised his role in reorganizing the provincial police force and leading major fighting that caused heavy casualties among the militants.

The attack in Anbar followed a bloody day in the capital Baghdad, where a series of car bomb attacks killed at least 45 people in Shiite-majority areas. The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for those attacks.

The U.S. military said Saturday it launched airstrikes north and west of Baghdad, hitting a small Islamic State fighting unit and destroying armed vehicles. It said Britain participated in the airstrikes.

An international rights group meanwhile said militants from the Islamic State are holding hundreds of Yazidi captives, including women and children, in detention facilities in Iraq and Syria. Based on accounts by relatives of detainees, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the group has systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters.

Hundreds of people from the Yazidi religious minority were killed and tens of thousands were forced to flee for their lives after the militants overran their hometown of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq in early August.

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