ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - A roadside bomb killed a senior police officer and three of his aides on Saturday near the central Iraqi city of Samarra, security said.
The explosion took place in Mutaybijeh, a dangerous and unstable area to the southest of the city where Islamic State (IS) fighters remain active, along with other sections of Diyala, Salahaddin, and Kirkuk provinces.
The bomb exploded on Saturday afternoon when a squad led by Brigadier General Mohammed al-Jabouri, police chief of the town of al-Alam, was conducting a clearing operation in the area against IS, a security source told Kurdistan 24. Other than Jabouri, the identities of those killed have not yet been released.
Efforts have been underway for months by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias to clear improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left by IS, plus any remaining militants, but the jihadist group continues to target security forces.
The region, where the jihadist group is known to still operate, is characterized by rugged terrain that is challenging for Iraqi forces to control.
Samarra was the scene of the infamous 2006 bombing of the al-Askari Shrine, one of the holiest in Shia Islam. The explosion, which destroyed the shrine's famed golden dome, is seen as a turning point in post 2003 Iraq, escalating Iraq's sectarian conflict to new levels of mass bloodshed.
Abadi declared final victory over IS in December, but the extremist group still poses a threat to different parts of the country as it continues to carry out ambushes, assassinations, and bombings.
The most recent suicide bombing in the country was in Baghdad’s Shia-majority Shula district that killed four people and injured 15 more.