Iraq: Twenty-one militants accidentally kill themselves
Iraqi soldiers gather around the bodies of anti-government fighters, affiliated to al-Qaeda Islamist organization, who were killed during a military operation against them on February 9, 2014, in the city of Ramadi. [AFP]
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Iraq's parliament speaker narrowly escaped an attack in his hometown on Monday, as a car bomb mistakenly went off in a militant compound north of Baghdad Monday, killing 21 insurgents including a suicide bomber, an anti-Qaeda militia leader and a police officer said.
A convoy carrying Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, one of Iraq's most senior politician, was hit by a roadside bomb in the main northern city of Mosul, his office said.
One of Nujaifi's bodyguards was wounded, a police captain and a medical source said, but the speaker himself escaped unharmed.
Meanwhile, an insurgent group was filming a propaganda video of the would-be suicide attacker when a technical glitch set off the car bomb in the Jilam area south of Samarra, according to Majeed Ali, the head of the Sahwa militia force in the city, and a police officer.
Jilam, a mostly rural farming area just south of Samarra, has long been an insurgent stronghold.
The blast went off within a compound in the area, Ali and the police officer said.
Violence has surged markedly higher in recent months, with more than 1,000 people killed in January alone according to government data.
Attacks have largely been concentrated in Baghdad and Arab parts of Iraq's north and west, including the Samarra region.
Analysts and diplomats have urged Iraq's government to reach out to the disaffected minority to undermine support for militants, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has taken a hard line ahead of April elections.