14 Iraqi SWAT forces killed in explosion in Anbar
At least 14 members of Iraqi forces have been killed in the western province of Anbar as they tried to enter a house packed with explosives.
Official Iraqi sources said more than 20 members of SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) forces entered the house in the town of Ramadi on Thursday after militants left the area.
The 14 were killed when the explosives went off in the building. The sources said that militants had likely planted bombs in the house as they left the building.
Iraq has been experiencing the deadliest cycle of violence over the past six years, with Anbar Province viewed as the epicenter of al-Qaeda-linked militancy that has gripped the country’s west over the past weeks.
Violence erupted in Anbar in December 2013, when security forces cleared a protest camp that the government said was used by militants for launching terrorist attacks.
On March 8, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been fueling militancy in Iraq, blaming the Arab states for destabilizing Iraq by supporting al-Qaeda-linked militant groups operating in the country.
Maliki said Saudi Arabia and Qatar are responsible for the security crisis and growing terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq, and denounced Riyadh as a major supporter of global terrorism.
According to figures by the United Nations, at least 8,000 people lost their lives in Iraq last year, which was the highest death toll since a peak of violence in the country in 2007.