Iraq: At least 14 dead as officials claim number of attacks down
At least 14 people died in bomb attacks on Wednesday, including a suicide bombing against an Iraqi general who escaped unharmed, the officer and security officials said. A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filled car against the convoy of General Riyadh Jalal Tauffiq, the head of the security operations in Iraq's main northern city of Mosul and its surrounding province of Nineveh.
"The bomber drove his car into my convoy in the Al-Faisaliya neighbourhood of east Mosul," general Tauffiq told AFP. "When my guards tried to arrest him, he detonated his car. Seven people were killed, including five civilians," he said, adding that 19 people were wounded. The US military said "eight Iraqi civilians killed, 33 civilians were wounded and 4 Iraqi soldiers were wounded" in what it said was a dual car bomb attack against the general.
Six people were also killed in two near simultaneous bomb attacks in the Sunni city of Fallujah in western Iraq's Anbar province, security officials said. The bombs went off at around 6:30 am (0330 GMT) within minutes of each other near a bank in central Fallujah. Eighteen people were wounded in the blasts.
The dead included four policemen, a security official said, adding that the second bomb went off as officers were aiding victims of the first attack.
The violence came as Iraqi officials issued data showing attacks have declined sharply over the past year. The development has been attributed in part to the 2007 American troop surge, a Sunni revolt against al-Qaeda in Iraq and government crackdowns against Sunni and Shiite militants. According to the AP, the Iraqi military said the number of "terrorist attacks" in June dropped 85 percent from the same period a year ago.
An average of 25 attacks took place each day in June, compared with 160 during the same month last year, said Iraqi army spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mousawi during a news conference.