Militants launched a major attack on the Iraqi city of Samarra today, killing six people said police, a doctor and witnesses.
The militants, travelling in dozens of vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, attacked a major checkpoint on the southeast side of Samarra, killing the security forces guarding it and burning their vehicles, witnesses said.
They then took control of several areas of the city, north of Baghdad, according to witnesses, who reported seeing the bodies of both security forces and gunmen in the streets.
A police major and a doctor said six police had been killed and 24 people wounded in the fighting.
The police officer said security forces withdrew from other areas to defend a revered Shiite shrine in central Samarra, which was bombed in February 2006, sparking a brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh Assures Safety Of All Tourists Stranded On Havelock Island
- Government To Waive Service Tax On Debit, Credit Card Transactions Of Up To Rs 2,000
- President Pranab Mukherjee Criticises Parliament Disruptions Over Demonetisation
- Pakistan International Airlines Flight Carrying Over 40 Passenger On Board Crashes
- Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
- US-President Elect Donald Trump Named TIME’s Person Of The Year 2016
- O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know
- PM Narendra Modi Slams Opposition For Not Letting Parliament Function
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui On Working In Raees: Was Nervous To Shoot With Shah Rukh Khan
- Bathinda Dancer Murder: Video Showing Accused Opening Fire At Marriage
- 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan
- Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor’s Delhi Home Burgled: Here’s What Happened
- Reserve Bank Of India Keeps Repo Rate Unchanged Post Demonetisation
- Bigg Boss 10 Dec 06 Review: Swami Om Pees In Kitchen
- Lenovo k6 Power Video Review
The assault comes as a standoff between anti-government fighters and security forces in Iraq’s Anbar province, west of Baghdad, enters its sixth month.
The city of Fallujah, just a short drive from Baghdad, and some parts of provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, have been outside government control since early January.
Violence is running at its highest levels since 2006-2007, the height of the country’s Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict.
More than 900 people were killed in Iraq last month, according to figures separately compiled by the United Nations and the government.
And over 4,000 have been killed so far this year, according to an AFP tally.
Officials blame external factors for the rise in bloodshed, particularly the civil war in neighboring Syria, and insist wide-ranging operations against militants are having an impact.
But the violence continues unabated, with analysts and diplomats saying the Shiite-led government needs to do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni Arab minority to reduce support for militancy.