Nearly a dozen people have lost their lives and many more sustained injuries when bomb attacks ripped through a state-run cooking gas factory near the capital, Baghdad.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least 11 people, including policemen, were killed and 21 others wounded when an explosive-laden car went off at the entrance of the facility in the town of Taji, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad, at around 6 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Sunday.
Six assailants clad in explosive vests later made their way into the factory, triggering a heavy exchange of gunfire with the security personnel inside the facility. Three of the facility’s gas storages reportedly went up in flames amid the violence.
Lieutenant General Abdul Amir al-Shammari, a commander for Baghdad Operations Command, told Arabic-language al-Baghdadia satellite television network that security forces are now in control of the gas factory, and civil defense teams are trying to put out the intense blaze.
Iraqi security forces stand guard on a road as flames and smoke rise in the background after a bomb attack on the Taji gas plant, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad on May 15, 2016. ©AFP
No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Iraqi officials usually blame such incidents on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has been wreaking havoc on Iraq’s northern and western parts since 2014.
Also on Sunday, a civilian was killed and eight others injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near an outdoor market in the town of Yusufiyah, situated 40 kilometers (24 miles) south of Baghdad.
Elsewhere in Baghdad’s northern neighborhood of Hussainiyah, an improvised explosive device claimed a civilian life and left six others wounded.
Daesh drone downed
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces have shot down a surveillance drone operated by the Takfiri Daesh terrorists north of Ramadi, located about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Baghdad.
The unmanned aerial vehicle was reportedly used to monitor military units deployed in Albu Dhiyab region.
The development came on the day that Major General Ali Ibrahim Daboun, commander of al-Jazeera and al-Baadia Operations, said Iraqi security forces together with tribal fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units have retaken al-Rabi’ village from Daesh terrorists and raised the national Iraqi flag over a building in the area.
Major General Ismail al-Mahlawi, commander of the Anbar Operation, announced in a statement on Saturday that army soldiers backed by allied tribal fighters had purged the city of Amiriyah Fallujah, located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Fallujah, of Daesh militants.
This photo provided by the Arabic-language al-Forat news agency shows the Daseh surveillance drone shot down by Iraqi Popular Mobilizations Units near Ramadi, western Iraq, on May 15, 2016.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh terrorists launched an offensive in June 2014, and took control of portions of Iraqi territory.
The militants have been committing heinous crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and others.
Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.