Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

At least 19 people have been killed and 65 injured after armed men stormed a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit immediately after a suicide bomber detonated explosives that cleared the way for the attack.

"A suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt outside the provincial council building in Tikrit, and immediately after gunmen stormed into the building," a police official told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Another provincial official said the men who wore security forces' uniforms threw hand grenades and opened fire at a checkpoint of the Salahuddin provincial council building before they managed to storm it.

"All the employees are still in the building, and police cannot approach because the gunmen are shooting from inside," he said.

Violence

Rawya Rageh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the capital Baghdad, said there has not been this kind of attack since the siege on a Baghdad church in November.

Anti-government fighters are still capable of carrying out lethal attacks eight years after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, though overall violence in the country has fallen sharply since the peak in 2006-7 of sectarian violence that was triggered after the invasion.

Bombings and attacks remain a daily occurrence.


Salahuddin province, home to Saddam's family, continues to suffer frequent attacks by fighters opposed to the the government in Baghdad.

In mid-January, a suicide bomber blew himself up and killed at least 50 people in a crowd waiting outside a police recruitment centre in Tikrit.

That blast, which also wounded up to 150, was the first major strike in Iraq since the formation of a new government on December 21.

Iraq's security forces are now solely responsible for the country's security, with the United States having declared a formal end to combat operations in the country at the end of August.


1 comments:

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