Iraq: 30 dead as police, army posts attacked; Local al Qaeda leader shot dead
At least 30 people were killed, including seven Iraqi troops, when more than 100 gunmen attacked Iraqi police and army posts in Baquba on Thursday, the U.S. military said on Friday.
In one raid, gunmen attacked a police station and five police checkpoints with mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Iraqi soldiers and police killed 17 attackers, the U.S. military said, according to Reuters. One Iraqi soldier was killed and two were wounded, it added in a statement.
In a separate incident, fighters armed with mortar rounds and rocket launchers attacked an Iraqi army headquarters. Four were killed and six Iraqi soldiers died in those clashes, which also left two civilians dead.
Baquba police told Reuters on Thursday that U.S. forces had come to help the police. Police Major-General Ghassan Adnan al-Bawi had said five policemen were killed in the attacks by some 400 to 500 gunmen, which he said lasted hours.
Elsewhere, Iraqi forces killed a local al-Qaeda leader and two other activists in a raid north of Baghdad on Friday. Iraqi commando forces acting on a tip raided a house where Hamid al-Takhi and the two other armed men were hiding in Samarra, a city 60 miles north of Baghdad, said police Capt. Laith Mohammed. All three died in a gunbattle.
In more violence, roadside bombs killed an American soldier and an Iraqi policeman, officials said
Meanwhile, the incoming prime minister won the backing Thursday of Iraq's top Shiite cleric for his scheme to disband militias.
The endorsement of Nuri al-Maliki's plan came during a meeting in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The ayatollah told al-Maliki that security should be his top priority.
Al-Maliki plans to integrate militias, many of them linked to Shiite parties, into the army and police.