18 killed in Iraq violence

Baghdad, Jan 8 (IANS) At least 18 people were killed, including 10 Al Qaeda militants, and 59 wounded in violent attacks across Iraq Tuesday, police said.

In Iraq’s western province of Anbar, a police source told Xinhua that dozens of tribesmen backed by local police fought fierce clashes with Al Qaeda militants in the provincial capital city of Ramadi, killing five militants and arresting two others.
In another incident, tribesmen clashed with Al Qaeda militants in Ramadi’s eastern suburb of Albu Bali, and killed three of the group’s snipers, the source said.
Al Qaeda gunmen attempted to take positions near a village located some 30 km east of Ramadi, but the tribesmen fought them and blew up a bridge to prevent them from moving their vehicles into other villages, the source added.
Elsewhere, sporadic clashes continued in Anbar’s Fallujah, between tribesmen and small groups of Al Qaeda militants, the source said.
The state-run Iraqiya channel reported that the tribal fighters killed two Al Qaeda leaders, one of them Abu Tufail al-Quqazi who was killed in Fallujah, and the other Khalid Ali Nasir who was killed in Ramadi.
Anbar province has been the scene of sporadic clashes between Iraqi security forces, tribesmen and Al Qaeda militants. The security situation deteriorated in the province last week, when Iraqi police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi.
In northern Iraq, two policemen and a civilian were killed and some 57 wounded in the morning when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden truck into a police station in central the city of Kirkuk, a police source said.
The huge blast destroyed parts of the police building and left more than 20 police and civilian cars on fire, the source said, adding that several nearby buildings along the street were also destroyed or damaged.
Iraqi security forces sealed off the scene as ambulances evacuated the wounded, while dozens of civilians and security men removed the debris of the buildings and looked for survivors, according to the source.
The ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk is part of the disputed areas claimed by the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans.
In the city of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, policemen guarding a customs office killed a suicide bomber and blew up his car before he reached his target without causing any other human casualty, a source said.
In Baghdad, gunmen shot dead an Egyptian citizen, who had lived in the city for years, in the Shiite district of al-Amil in the southern part of the capital, a police source said.
In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, gunmen shot dead a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group member near the provincial capital city of Baquba, and two policemen were wounded in a separate attack near the city.
Separately, gunmen shot dead a retired government employee and a farmer in two incidents near Baquba.
Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis were killed in 2013, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, which is the highest annual death toll for years.