2 dead, many wounded in Iraq car bomb blast

Al-Qaim was recaptured from Islamic State in November 2017 and was the last Daesh bastion in Iraq to fall last year. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
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2 dead, many wounded in Iraq car bomb blast

  • No immediate claim of responsibility for the attack
  • The Iraqi army is closing camps for people displaced by war in Anbar and pressuring families to return to their communities before basic services have been restored

BAGHDAD: A car bomb blast killed at least two people and injured more than a dozen in the Iraqi town of Al-Qaim on the Syrian border on Friday, a statement from Iraq’s military said.

According to an Iraq’s Health Ministry statement, 25 others were wounded in a city to which displaced families are being encouraged to return. It did not give further details.

Al-Qaim, a city along the border with Syria in Iraq’s western Anbar province, was one of the last cities recaptured from Daesh militants in 2017. It was the group’s last bastion in Iraq to fall last year.

The Iraqi army is closing camps for people displaced by war in Anbar and pressuring families to return to their communities before basic services have been restored, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Nearly 40,000 Iraqis have returned to their communities in Al-Qaim and the surrounding district, according to data from the UN.

A local senior police source put the number killed at three, with 23 injured. The military and the police said four members of the security forces were among those injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in Al-Qaim, which went off in the middle of a busy market on Friday morning. It was described by the military in its statement as a terrorist attack.

Terrorist attack

Earlier this week, a car bomb blast killed two people and injured six in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, 150 km northwest of Baghdad.

The Tuesday blast, described by the military as a “terrorist attack,” occurred at a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Tikrit.

The two dead were police officers, according to a local police source and a hospital source. In its statement, the military referred to the two dead only as civilians.

The wounded included two soldiers, a police officer and three civilians, according to the police source.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in Tikrit too, the hometown of late dictator Saddam Hussein, which was controlled by Daesh militants in 2014-15.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh militants in December 2017 after two years of fighting. However, Daesh militants have continued to carry out insurgent-style attacks on security forces across the country.

A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is a think tank based in Washington, found that while the total number of Daesh attacks in Iraq had dropped in 2018, those against government targets had increased compared to 2017. 

Observers are also worried that the bitter squabbles among Iraqi’s political forces could turn violent.


Daesh fighters pinned on Syrian riverbank, warplanes fly above

Updated 45 min 39 sec ago
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Daesh fighters pinned on Syrian riverbank, warplanes fly above

  • Defeat there would signal the end of the ultra-hard-line Islamist movement’s control in eastern Syria
  • The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Tuesday said they had driven the remaining Daesh fighters in the town of Baghouz

DEIR EZZOR, Syria: Warplanes flew near Baghouz in eastern Syria early on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said, as the final remnants of the Daesh group held a narrow strip of land along the Euphrates in a last-ditch defense of its dwindling territory.
Defeat there would signal the end of the ultra-hard-line Islamist movement’s control in eastern Syria, having held more than a third of Syria and Iraq at one point in 2014 as it sought to carve out a huge caliphate in the region.
On Tuesday, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had driven the remaining Daesh fighters in the town of Baghouz from a makeshift encampment that had represented most of its remaining territory.
But while the capture of Baghouz, close to the Iraqi border, would mark a significant milestone in Syria’s eight-year war and in the battle against the militant group, Daesh remains a threat.
Some of the group’s fighters are still holed up in the central Syrian desert and others have gone underground in Iraqi cities to wage an insurgent campaign to destabilize the government.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, said late on Tuesday that clashes with the militants at the Euphrates were continuing “in several pockets.”