At least 15 die in Baghdad suicide blast | News | DW | 19.10.2014
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At least 15 die in Baghdad suicide blast

A suicide bomber has killed at least 15 people and injured many more at a funeral in Baghdad. Separately, Iraqi forces are fighting for control of a key town near a major oil refinery.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 15 people and wounded 30 others outside a Shiite mosque in western Baghdad where people were attending a funeral service, according to security and health officials.

"The attacker approached the entrance of the mosque and blew himself up among the crowd," a police officer said about the attack in the affluent neighborhood of Harthiya.

There was no immediate claim for the attack but suicide bombings are mainly carried out by Sunni jihadists in Iraq - including those belonging to the so called "Islamic State" ("IS") which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq since June.

Fighting near oil refinery

An Iraqi military operation launched in the early hours of Saturday ran into problems when an armored vehicle blew up near a convoy south of the city of Baiji, next to the country's largest oil refinery, 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of the capital. The blast killed four soldiers and wounded seven.

Iraqi forces were trying to retake the city from "IS" militants, who have been launching attacks on the government-held refinery. "We are planning to retake Baiji as soon as possible to secure a key highway and to stop the daily attacks of terrorists on the Baiji refinery," said an army major who took part in the operation.

"The attacker surprised our forces as he was driving a military armored vehicle. We thought it was our vehicle," he added.

Iraqi forces have protected the Baiji refinery since June, despite being surrounded on all sides by "IS" fighters.

Australia is the latest country to announce deployment of troops to support Iraqi forces.

jm/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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