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33 killed in battles with insurgents, bomb attacks in Iraq

A total of 33 people were killed and 94 others wounded in separate clashes with Sunni militants and bomb attacks across Iraq, security sources said on Saturday.

In one attack, a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden car into a crowd of security forces and allied volunteers at a recruitment center in the city of Balad, some 80 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, leaving four volunteers killed and some 32 others and security members wounded, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

In south of Baghdad, helicopter gunships carried out air strikes against positions of insurgent militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), an al-Qaida offshoot in Jurf al-Sakhar area which located in the northern part of Babil province, killing at least 15 militants and wounded 40 others, along with destroying three vehicles carrying heavy machinegun, a provincial police source anonymously told Xinhua.

Separately, an army force at dawn raided IS positions, in the town of Latifiyah, some 30 km south of Baghdad, killing five IS militants, including a Syrian militant known as Abu Safiyah al- Suri, the source said.

The sectarian mixed province of Babil has been part of latest Sunni insurgency against the Shiite-led government. The area in north of the provincial capital Hilla, about 100 km south of Baghdad, is known as the Triangle of Death. It is a cluster of Sunni towns scattered north of the province.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Sunni militant groups, including IS, took control of the southern part of the city of Jalawlaa, some 130 km northeast of Baghdad, after fierce clashes broke out at dawn with Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The battles in Jalawlaa resulted in the killing of a Peshmerga member and the wounding of five others, while at least three militants were confirmed killed and another wounded, the source said.

The ethnically mixed city of Jalawlaa is part of disputed areas between the Arabs and Kurds, who want to annex it to their semi- autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Kurds' claims about the areas are rejected by Baghdad government.

In addition, a clash between the security forces and militant groups erupted in Imam Weis area in northeast of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving at least two militants killed and destroying a vehicle carrying heavy machinegun, the source said without giving further details about the casualties of the security forces.

Sporadic clashes between the militant groups and security forces continued during the day in the rural areas near the town of Mansouriyah, some 40 km east of Baquba, leaving at least a woman killed and four people wounded by the cross fire and mortar attacks, the source said.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb went off inside a bus carrying passengers, including soldiers, near Qahtan square in southern part of the capital, wounding nine soldiers and three civilians, an Interior Ministry source anonymously told Xinhua.

The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq on June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants who took control of country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after the Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said on Friday that at least 1, 737 Iraqis were killed and 1,978 others injured in acts of terrorism and violence in July across Iraq, not including casualties in Anbar province.

Terrorism and violence have killed 5,576 civilians in Iraq in the first half of this year, with 11,666 more wounded, according to a recent UN report.

[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 02Aug14]

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