BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of attacks in Iraq, including a double suicide car bombing targeting a military base, killed 30 people across the country Thursday, officials said.
The deadliest attack took place when the two suicide bombers drove their explosive-laden cars into a military base in the town of Tarmiyah late Thursday, killing at least 19 soldiers and wounding 41, authorities said.
Soldiers guarding the base opened fire on the first car bomber as he approached, but he still was able to detonate his explosives against a gate at the facility, police said. Two minutes later, the second suicide bomber rammed his car through the gate and exploded when he reached a crowd of soldiers who gathered after the earlier blast, police said.
Tarmiyah, a former insurgent stronghold home to Sunnis, is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad. Last week, two suicide bombers detonated their explosives-laden belts among a group of soldiers and Sahwa militiamen gathered in the orchard of a local Sahwa leader, killing 12, authorities said at the time.
The Sahwa movement, also known as the Awakening Council, was formed by U.S. forces in 2007 to help fight the insurgents during the height of Iraqi war. Ever since, it has been a target for Sunni hard-liners who consider them traitors.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the dual car bombing Thursday. Suicide bomb attacks against security forces are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida's local branch. The terror group has recently escalated its campaign of violence in order to thwart government efforts to maintain security.
Earlier Thursday, police said a bombing at a tent serving food to pilgrims on their way to Karbala, killed four people and wounded six, police said. Before that, officials said a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden car at an army post, killing three soldiers and wounding six in the town of Ana, some 330 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Police said another bomb blast killed two persons in a town just south of Baghdad. In the northern city of Mosul, police said a bomb struck an outdoor market Thursday evening, killing two people and wounding eight.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists. Violence has escalated in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April, with the pace of killing reaching levels unseen since 2008. Today's attacks bring the death toll across the country this month to 57, according to an Associated Press count. According to United Nations figures, more than 5,500 people have been killed since April.