ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A suicide bomber driving an explosive-packed vehicle targeted a restaurant frequented by security forces in Iraq’s Salahuddin Province on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Saif al-Badr, Health Ministry spokesman, put the latest updated casualty numbers at six killed and 42 wounded.
The attack took place at the Qalaa restaurant, a favorite of local Iraqi forces and militia fighters, located on the Tikrit-Baiji highway in an area known as Hajjaj, near Kirkuk Province.
Reuters reported that most of those wounded were Iraqi tourists traveling in a bus that stopped at the restaurant. Iraqi media outlet Shafaaq put the number of casualties at five killed and 30 wounded.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Islamic State (IS) is still active in the area, with sleeper cells regularly carrying out small-scale attacks.
In late August in the province, a militant wearing a suicide vest blew himself up, killing six and wounding seven members of the Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). According to Colonel Khalil al-Sahn, the police chief of the Shirqat district, the early morning attack happened at the house of former Iraqi lawmaker, Adnan al-Ganam.
In mid-August, a twin bombing targeted the town of Sanjej, southeast of Mosul, with the first explosion killing a farmer and a tribal fighter. Colonel Ahmed al-Jabouri said that the second blast went off as “locals and tribal fighters gathered to help the victims,” injuring 10.
Despite Iraq declaring “final victory” over IS militants last December, the group continues to launch insurgency-style attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in Iraq, including in the disputed provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin.
Editing by John J. Catherine