ISIS fighters use bulldozer packed with explosives to ambush Iraqi army convoy of Humvees north of Fallujah.
Islamic State fighters ambushed an Iraqi army convoy of Humvees with a bulldozer packed with explosives, killing a commander and three of his soldiers, military officials have confirmed. A suicide bomber first attacked the convoy before militants opened fire, killing the Brigadier General Hassan Abbas Toufan, the commander of the Iraqi first division, a member of the division and an intelligence officer said.
A colonel and two lieutenant colonels also died in the attack in the Nadhem al-Taqseem region, north of Fallujah in the Anbar province yesterday. The Iraqi army is embroiled in a fierce battle to reconquer the western province, which has been under ISIS control for the past year.
Fighting has been focused on the provincial capital of Ramadi, where the government had been making slow progress. Earlier on Friday, the army recaptured the important al-Houz bridge over the Euphrates in western Ramadi, which had served as a primary supply route for the militants, according to police Colonel Mahdi Abbas.
The security situation in Ramadi sharply deteriorated after the terrorists seized three villages around the city, forcing an estimated 100,000 to flee their homes. Many had started to return in the past few days because Iraqi soldiers and police have been able to secure the centre of Ramadi and push the militants back from some areas of the city.
During the weekly Friday prayer, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the country’s politicians to end all disputes in order to confront the political, economic and security challenges facing the country. ‘It is important that the brothers (the politicians) should come out with final and drastic solutions for the problems,’ al-Sistani’s representative said during a sermon Friday in the holy Shiite city of Karbala.
Many Iraqis blame the rivalries among the country’s political leadership for the humiliating defeat suffered by government forces in the past year at the hands of the Islamic State militants that control large sections of the north and west of the country. In Friday’s violence, police officials said a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Sunni town of Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding eight.
A bomb near a courthouse killed three people and wounded nine in the town of Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad. Medical officials confirmed the death toll. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.