An attempted hostage rescue and two assaults by gunmen on police stations killed 24 policemen in Iraq’s restive Anbar province, as a series of car bombs in Baghdad and Basra killed another 31 people, police and doctors said on Monday.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Majid al-Jlaybawi said the police and armed forces carried out a joint raid to free kidnapped police in Anbar, but clashes broke out.
Twelve kidnapped police were killed and four wounded during the raid, though it was not immediately clear if they were caught in the crossfire or killed by their abductors.
Mohammed Hadi, one of the wounded policemen, told AFP they had been kidnapped on the highway between Baghdad and Jordan on Saturday.
In Haditha, a town in Anbar province, gunmen attacked a police station, killing eight police, among them two officers, First Lieutenant Murad al-Hadithi and a doctor said.
And gunmen killed four police and wounded three in an attack on another police station in the town of Rawa, also in Anbar, said Qais al-Rawi, the head of the area’s local council.
There have been a number of attacks in recent weeks on security forces in Anbar province, home to Ramadi and Fallujah, two centers of anti-government protests that broke out almost five months ago.
In Baghdad, eight car bombs killed at least 20 people, police and medics said.
Two car bombs also hit Basra, 260 miles southeast of Baghdad, killing 11 others. The first struck the Hananiya neighborhood, near a busy market and restaurants, and the second was detonated inside a bus terminal in Saad Square.
More than 700 people were killed in April by a UN count, the highest figure in almost five years.