BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): Iraq’s parliament speaker escaped a bomb attack in northern Iraq on Monday, while 25 gunmen were killed in an explosion and eight others wounded in separate attacks across the country, police said.
In the northern province of Nineveh, a roadside bomb went off near the convoy of Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and Governor Atheel al- Nujaifi, also brother of Osama, south of the provincial capital of Mosul, a local police source told Xinhua.
The blast damaged one of the vehicles and wounded two of the speaker’s bodyguards onboard, while the two brothers escaped unharmed, the source said.
In Baghdad, five people were wounded in a roadside bombing at a popular restaurant in the south of the Iraqi capital, a police source told Xinhua.
In a separate incident, an army colonel was critically wounded by a sticky bomb attached to his car in downtown Baghdad, the source said.
Earlier in the day, a police source from the Sunni-dominated Salahudin province told Xinhua that 25 al-Qaida gunmen were killed in a huge explosion due to technical fault while they were building a truck bomb near the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad.
The blast also injured a number of militants, but the wounded were whisked away before security forces arrived early Monday morning to remove the dead bodies, 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, the highest annual death toll in years.