BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): At least 21 people were killed and 26 others wounded in violent attacks in Iraq on Sunday, police said.
A suicide bomber blew up his explosive-laden car into a base of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group in the city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, killing eight and wounding 18, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Five members of the Sahwa group were among the dead and 10 members of the militia among the wounded, the source said.
The Sahwa militia, also known as the Awakening Council or the Sons of Iraq, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after the latter exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.
Meanwhile, three farmers were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in an orchard farm near the town of Balad, some 80 km north of Baghdad, the source said.
An officer of the Iraqi army was killed and two policemen wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Balad Ruz area, 30 km east of Baquba, capital city of Diyala province, police said.
Earlier in the day, four soldiers were killed and another was wounded when gunmen using silenced weapons attacked their checkpoint in a village near the city of Kirkuk, a local police source told Xinhua.
In the eastern province of Diyala, gunmen broke into a Sunni village near the city of Sa’diyah, some 60 km northeast of Baquba, killing five people, including a woman, and wounded three others, a provincial police source told Xinhua.
In another incident, a roadside bomb went off near a house and wounded two civilians in the southern part of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, the source said.
Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, which is the highest annual death toll for years.