SHAFAQNA – Bombs and mortar fire killed 13 people in Shiite areas in and around Baghdad on Sunday, as Iraqi security forces said they succeeded in breaking a siege on soldiers who had been surrounded by Islamic State militants west of Baghdad. Police officials said three mortar shells landed on a residential area in Sabaa al-Bour, a town just north of Baghdad, killing six, including a 12-year old-boy. Several cars were damaged in the attack, which wounded 17. Later, a bomb blast in a commercial street killed four people and wounded 11 in the capital’s northeastern district of Shaab. At night, a bomb explosion at a commercial street in the Shiite part of Baghdad’s district of Bayaa killed three people and wounded seven others, said police. Medical officials confirmed the casualty tolls. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. Attacks against Shiite civilians are a common tactic of the Islamic State militant group, which considers Shiites heretics. The group has captured large chunks of territory in western and northern Iraq as well as in Syria.
Meanwhile, Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said Sunday that Iraqi security forces overnight were able to break a siege on about 400 soldiers who were surrounded by Islamic State militants three days ago in an area in Sunni-dominated Anbar province. He did not elaborate. The soldiers had been trapped in the Sijir area near the city of Fallujah, 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad. Islamic militants later launched attacks involving suicide bombers on the Iraqi troops in Sijir, and clashes erupted, causing unspecified casualties, said security officials who were not authorized to speak to the media. Later on, the Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that some wounded soldiers went missing during the clashes in the Sijir area. The statement warned the militants of “severe punishment” if the missing soldiers were hurt. Sunni fighters took control of Fallujah earlier this year, and government forces have been unable to take it back.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed reporting.