Tue, Oct 04, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Iraqi forces battle with insurgents in Anbar after attack

AFP and Reuters, RAMADI and BAGHDAD, Iraq

Up to 15 people were killed yesterday after Iraqi security forces fought gunmen and suicide bombers who had seized hostages during attacks on a local government compound and a police station in Anbar Province, officials and police sources said.

Gunmen set off at least two explosions at around 10am before overruning the al-Baghdadi police headquarters, which is in a compound that also houses the office of the town’s mayor.

One bomber detonated his explosives outside the compound, while other attackers disguised in army uniforms stormed in and took several people hostage, holding them in a police station.

Iraqi security forces finally overcame the insurgents by about 12:30pm, officials said, and found the police chief Lieutenant Colonel Sadiq al-Obeidi dead.

It was not immediately clear whether the casualties came from the initial attack on the government compound or the fighting that followed as security personnel retook the site.

Mohammed Fatehi, the Anbar governor’s spokesman, said eight people had been killed, while the Anbar governor said seven people had died. However, police sources said at least 13 people were killed in the attacks, not including the bombers.

Military and police reinforcements had been dispatched to the town, which lies 150km northwest of Baghdad in predominantly Sunni Anbar Province.

Meanwhile, a police officer in the town of Dolab, close to al-Baghdadi, said a similar attack was mounted on its police headquarters, with two suicide attackers blowing themselves up in front of the station.

A third suicide bomber was detained by police before he could set off his explosives, the major said. There were no casualties as a result of the attack.

Anbar security forces imposed a vehicle curfew in the provincial capital Ramadi from 1pm.

The attacks underscored Iraq’s still delicate security situation as the last US troops prepare to withdraw at the end of this year more than eight years after the invasion.

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