ISIS Kills 26 in Wedding Suicide Bombings near Iraq’s Tikrit

Iraqi policemen stand at the site of a car bomb attack in Tikrit City, 250 km north of Baghdad, Iraq, 06 November 2016. Photo: Ali Mohammed/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • ISIS has targeted members of a Shiite militia at a wedding with four suicide bombings.
  • Most of those killed were children.
  • Despite losing the area around Tikrit in Northern Iraq to the Iraqi government forces back in 2015, ISIS keeps staging terrorist attacks there.
  • Iraqi troops and pro-government militias made further gains against the ISIS militants lodged in western Mosul.

At least 26 people have perished when a wedding party in a village near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit was hit by suicide bomb explosions, while other suicide bombings targeted security forces nearby.

Responsibility for the terrorist act has been claimed by ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) which has kept up violent attacks around Tikrit even though the Iraqi government reconquered the area in April 2015.

Meanwhile, Iraqi government troops and pro-government militias continued to make advances against ISIS militants in the surrounded western part of the city of Mosul, also in Northern Iraq.

Wedding Attack

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the village of Hajaj, 20 km north of Tikrit, on Wednesday evening, as guests were arriving for a wedding party, Al Jazeera reported, citing medical and security sources.

In addition to at least 26 casualties, at least 25 more people were wounded in the assault.

The first suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest among men who were dancing, then a second bomber targeted those who had gathered to help, officials said, as cited by AP and the BBC.

According to a local government spokesperson, most of those killed in the terrorist attack were children.

The area was cordoned off by security forces which imposed a wider curfew for fear of more attackers.

Shortly thereafter, two more suicide bombers attacked the security forces at the scene of the first bombings.

There were ongoing clashes between security forces and fighters in the area near Tikrit, according to a police official cited by Reuters.

Responsibility for the violent attack in Iraq’s Hijaj near Tikrit was assumed by ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in a post on its channels on the messaging app Telegram.

ISIS announced it had targeted a gathering of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of mostly Shiite paramilitaries backed by Iran.

It also said that the attackers had clashed with members of the Popular Mobilization Forces before detonating their explosives.

The assaulted wedding party evening was for a family who had been displaced from Iraq’s western Anbar province and is affiliated with a major anti-ISIS tribe there, AP reported.

ISIS’s jihadist militants took much of Northern and Central Iraq, including Tikrit in a push in the summer of 2014 but were driven out by the Iraqi forces in April 2015.

Yet, they have continued to stage terrorist attacks around Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was ousted from power in 2003 by the US military invasion.

A picture made available on 04 March 2017, shows Iraqi displaced people who just fled from west of Mosul districts, arriving in Hamam Ali town, southern Mosul, northern Iraq, 03 March 2017. Photo: Basel Rasol/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Push Inside Mosul

Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces have pushed deeper into the western parts of Mosul, the last remaining major ISIS outpost in Iraq.

Nineveh Operations Command announced on Wednesday it had liberated two quarters in the western parts of Mosul.

“Today, forces from Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) liberated the areas of al-Mansour and al-Shuhada al-Thaniya in the western side of the city of Mosul,“ Commander of Operations, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said in a statement, as cited by Iraqi News.

Earlier on Wednesday, the media office of the Shiite militia Popular Mobilization Forces announced it had conquered from ISIS the al-Sabuniyah Train Station, on the road between western Mosul and Tal Afar, after inflicting heavy human and material losses on the Islamic State group.

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