17 killed in Iraq violence


Baghdad, Dec 10 (IANS): At least 17 people were killed and 10 others wounded in clashes and bomb attacks, including a suicide tanker truck bombing, in the Iraqi province of Salahudin Wednesday, a provincial security source said.

In the early hours of the day, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden tanker truck into a checkpoint of an army base and blew it up in the town of Dijla, also called Mkeshifah, some 40 km south of provincial capital Tikrit, leaving nine soldiers dead and 10 others wounded, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The blast was followed by mortar barrage on the base before dozens of Islamic State (IS) militants broke into the military base and seized it, as well as part of Dijla town, the source said.

The troops withdrew from the base and took positions on the main road and in the southern part of the town, while clashes are under way and reinforcement troops are moving from the nearby city of Samarra to free the town from the extremist militants, the source added.

Meanwhile, the provincial operations command said that helicopter gunships pounded the IS positions near Dijla and killed at least eight militants of the Sunni radical group, along with destroying three of the vehicles carrying heavy machine guns.

Salahudin province is a predominantly Sunni province and its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.

Large parts of the province have been under the control of the IS since June 11, a day after bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the group which took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

 

  

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