Middle East

IS conflict: Iraqi general killed in suicide attack on base

Haditha Dam (10 September 2014) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The army base attacked by the suicide bombers was reportedly near the Haditha Dam

An Iraqi army general and nine other soldiers have been killed in a suicide bomb attack by Islamic State militants in western Iraq, security sources say.

Four militants wearing army uniforms blew themselves up after gaining entry to a base near Haditha late on Monday.

One of the explosions killed Brig-Gen Ali Abboud, chief-of-staff of the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command.

Another eight soldiers were wounded in the attack, which comes after a wave of suicide bombings claimed by IS.

On Monday, at least 40 people were killed by an explosion at a funeral attended by Shia militia commanders in the eastern town of Muqdadiya, while a blast at a security checkpoint in Baghdad left eight security personnel dead.

Another 70 people died in the capital on Sunday, when two militants targeted a busy market in the predominantly Shia district of Sadr City.

Samarra offensive

Haditha and its nearby dam, about 190km (120 miles) north-west of Baghdad, are in one of the few parts of the mainly Sunni province of Anbar not controlled by IS.

Iraqi government forces and allied Sunni tribesmen based there have held off IS for more than 18 months with the help of air strikes by a US-led coalition.

On Monday night, the four militants attacked an entrance to the headquarters of the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command and clashed with soldiers inside.

One of the bombers later blew himself up inside Gen Abboud's office, while the other three detonated their explosive belts elsewhere, Maj-Gen Ali Daboun, head of the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command, told the AFP news agency.

Elsewhere in Iraq on Tuesday, Iraqi troops backed by Shia militiamen and the Iraqi air force launched a new offensive to retake a key agricultural area north-east of the central city of Samarra.

Commanders believe that controlling Jazerat Samarra would allow them to cut IS supply lines to the northern IS-held city of Mosul.