BAGHDAD: A triple suicide bombing killed 26 Kurdish security forces northeast of Baghdad on Sunday and a roadside bomb killed the police chief of the western Anbar province, dealing major blows to Iraqi security forces struggling to combat the Islamic State extremist group.
The triple attack took place in Qara Tappah, in the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province, according to an official from the Kurdish Asayish security forces. He said the first bomber detonated an explosives vest at the gateway to a security compound that also houses the office of a main Kurdish political party. Minutes later, two suicide bombers plowed cars filled with explosives into the compound, causing heavy damage. At least 60 people were wounded in the attack.
Hours later, the Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by three non-Iraqi jihadists. The authenticity of the online statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a Twitter account frequently used by the militant group.
The group has seized some towns in the volatile Diyala province and has clashed with Kurdish forces there.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
In the Anbar attack, Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Dulaimi was killed while traveling in a convoy north of the provincial capital Ramadi through an area cleared by Iraqi security forces a day earlier, according to Anbar councilman Faleh al-Issawi. It was not immediately clear if others were killed or wounded.
The Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants seized the Anbar city of Fallujah, parts of Ramadi and large rural areas of Anbar early this year. The loss of Fallujah — where American troops engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year U.S. intervention in the country — foreshadowed the later loss of second city Mosul and much of the north.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed al-Dulaimi’s death, calling him a “hero who set a good example for self-sacrifice.” It praised his role in reorganizing the provincial police force and leading major fighting that caused heavy casualties among the militants.
The attack in Anbar followed a bloody day in the capital Baghdad, where a series of car bomb attacks killed at least 45 people in Shiite-majority areas.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks, but officials in the Shiite-led government and Shiite neighborhoods are frequently targeted by Sunni insurgents.