Twelve killed in fresh Iraqi violence    2007-12-31 08:09:17    

Fresh violence ripped through Iraq on Monday with at least 12 Iraqis killed and several wounded. Raids and arrests were also reported.
Baghdad (dpa) - Fresh violence ripped through Iraq on Monday with at least 12 Iraqis killed and several wounded. Raids and arrests were also reported.

In one incident, at least five Iraqis were killed and four wounded when a suicide attacker detonated an explosives-laden truck in a village north of Baghdad, police sources said.

The attack targeted a checkpoint controlled by members of the so- called Awakening Council, a government-backed voluntary armed group that fights al-Qaeda, in Tarmiyah, 20 kilometres north of Baghdad.

The condition of some of the wounded is critical. Iraqi ambulances were seen rushing the casualties between the blast site and the village hospital.

In another suicide attack, seven Iraqis were injured when a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives belt near a police patrol in Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad. A child and five civilians were among the wounded, according to eyewitnesses.

In another development, a police officer and a police commissioner were killed and four border guards were injured when an explosive devise went off in a checkpoint near Khaneqin district, 180 kilometres north-east of Baghdad.

In other news, four militants were killed and 10 detained in a joint US-Iraqi military operation on Monday in the northern Iraqi town of Bayji.

Meanwhile a policemen died from a head injury sustained during a fire-fight, said local authorities.

Iraqi military forces aided by US helicopters had launched an operation two days earlier in the village Sukareya in addition to other villages west of Bayji, some 200 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraqi security sources said.

In addition to the arrests, Iraqi official Ahmed al-Fahl told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that a weapons cache and military equipment were confiscated from one of the sites while several vehicles and hideouts were destroyed.

One of those killed, according to the source, was a militant who wore Afghani clothing, and was identified by the police through a name tag he had carried as Nizar Cherazy.

The Iraqi authorities failed to identify the other three militants, but al-Fahl said "it seems that two of them are Arabs and the third is an Iraqi."

The bodies were transferred to Bayji ahead of moving them to the public hospital of Tikrit.

In another operation, joint US and Iraqi troops rounded-up 22 suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists from across Kirkuk province, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

In the early hours of Monday, the forces raided al-Dabs district north-west of Kirkuk and found several weapons caches, documents and tapes belonging to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq, according to Sarhad Qader, a police department chief in Kirkuk. In the same operation, the village of Osh Tabah was also raided.

The Islamic State of Iraq is a self-styled insurgency group loyal of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Qader also told dpa that the US forces might have Abd el-Amir al-Jemeily, a militant leader in the Iraqi town of Howeijah, west of Kirkuk. Al-Jemeily was summoned by the US military for questioning and has not returned since, explained Qader who believed that al-Jemeily might have been kept in detention.

He added that el-Jebely might be arrested in al-Bakara for investigation, since earlier this week the US forces have detained another militant leader in the same base, who has not been released until now.

Meanwhile, health ministry sources told Voices of Iraq news agency that the US forces broke into the health ministry, destroyed its offices and detained a number of security guards "without a reason."

Earlier this year, the US troops have similarly raided the ministry and arrested the Iraqi health deputy minister, who was a member the Shiite Sadr movement.

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