At least five Iraqi policemen have been killed and nine others wounded in coordinated bomb attacks, which involved two explosions and subsequent gunfire in the central Iraqi city of Fallujah.
According to Iraqi officials, the attacks occurred on Monday, when a bomber detonated his explosives-laden belt at the main checkpoint outside police headquarters in Iraq's longtime militant stronghold of Fallujah. The second bomber blew himself up near the building's gates as a shootout broke out between security forces and a number of gunmen, who later fled the scene. A medical official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the casualty figures. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Iraqi al-Qaeda, which frequently carries out coordinated bombings, is believed to be behind the attacks. The Monday attacks came a day after two bomb explosions targeting a café in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, left thirty-four people dead and many more injured. Earlier on Sunday, fifteen people were killed in a series of bomb attacks on security personnel and government buildings across Iraq. Violence has surged across the Arab country in recent months, reaching its highest level since 2008. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that attacks in Iraq aimed to “reignite sectarian strife” and divide the country. According to figures based on security and medical sources, more than 480 people have been killed so far this month in Iraq, and almost 5,200 since the beginning of the year.