- Title: IRAQ: Gunmen and bombs kill several in Iraq assaults
- Date: 11th May 2010
- Summary: ONLOOKERS INSPECTING BURNT OUT VEHICLE
- Embargoed: 26th May 2010 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA4QFN3EOX5ISZQK9D67NLMOO8M
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Gunmen using silenced weapons attacked at least six checkpoints in Baghdad on Monday (May 10), killing seven Iraqi soldiers and policemen, while bombs planted at three others wounded several more, an Interior Ministry source said.
Two of the checkpoints attacked by gunmen were in eastern Baghdad, one in the south and the others in the west. The ones attacked by bombs were all in the south and southeast.
Meanwhile two bombs went off in quick succession in southeastern Baghdad, wounding four people, police said.
Witnesses said the first bomb went off early in the morning and when people gathered at the scene, another one exploded.
"At 05:15 (02:15 GMT) we heard the sound of an explosion. I went out to see what had happened as my father was praying near a window. All the neighbours were standing close to the windows. I saw a burnt out car, as if the blast was caused by a rocket not a bomb. When people gathered to see what had happened, another one exploded," said Hussein Khalil, a policeman and eyewitness.
The attacks on checkpoints showed a new tactic was being used by a weakened yet still dangerous Sunni Islamist insurgency after government forces dealt a series of major blows to al Qaeda's local network in recent weeks.
All the checkpoints were attacked around the same time at dawn, the source said, asking not to be identified.
Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply since the height of sectarian warfare in 2006/07 but a March election that produced no clear winner and left the country adrift in political uncertainty has fuelled tensions.
A cross-sectarian alliance led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, won strong support from minority Sunnis to take a two-seat lead in the March 7 parliamentary vote.
The country's main Shi'ite-led coalitions, however, have agreed to form an alliance that would deprive Allawi of a chance to try to form the next government, potentially angering Sunnis.
At the same time, U.S. and Iraqi military forces have scored several battlefield victories against al Qaeda, including the killing of the organisation's two top leaders in Iraq in April.
But while weakened, officials say al Qaeda in Iraq and affiliated Sunni Islamist groups remain a potent force, and they have warned that they will try to stage significant attacks in order to prove to their followers that they are still around.
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