BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): A total of 39 people were killed and 41 others wounded in separate violent incidents, including a security operation, across Iraq on Thursday, police said.
In northern Iraq, police carried out an offensive targeting insurgent groups in southern Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing 17 gunmen believed to be linked to the infamous blacklisted group the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant ( ISIL), a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Police also arrested eight suspects during the operation, along with seizing a cache of weapons and explosives, the source said.
In a separate incident, the body of a member of a government- backed Sahwa paramilitary group, who was kidnapped by gunmen on Wednesday from the city of Shirqat, was found by his family in a village outside the city, a local police source said.
Three family members of the kidnap victim were killed when they tried to recover the body, apparently booby-trapped. The kidnappers notified the family of the body’s location, the source said.
In Baghdad, three bombs went off near a popular market in the northern Sabie Abkar district, leaving one civilian dead and ten others wounded, a police source told Xinhua.
In Anbar province, a fierce clash erupted in the early morning hours in eastern part of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, between an army force and gunmen, believed to be linked to ISIL, leaving seven gunmen dead and five others wounded, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, seven civilians were killed and 17 others wounded by artillery and mortar shelling on several neighborhoods in Fallujah, a medical source from the city hospital told Xinhua.
Residents of Fallujah and nearby areas as well as officials in the local hospital, have frequently accused the Iraqi army of indiscriminately targeting their neighborhoods, an accusation denied by defense officials, who insisted that they were targeting militants.
Fallujah is located in the troubled Anbar province, which has been the scene of fierce clashes that flared up after Iraqi police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi in late December last year.
Elsewhere, six soldiers were wounded when a sticky bomb attached to a minibus carrying them detonated near the town of Daqouq in the city of Kirkuk, a local police source said.
In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, a leader of a Sahwa group was killed when gunmen attacked his house in a village near the provincial capital city of Baqub, a provincial police source told Xinhua.
Also in the province, police shot dead two suspected gunmen during a security operation in the city of Sa’diyah, some 60 km northeast of Baquba, the source added.
Iraq is currently witnessing some of 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, the highest annual death toll in years.
Editor: Mu Xuequan