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Suicide bombers hit Iraqi police HQ, kill chief

Suicide bombers hit Iraqi police HQ, kill chief

Three suicide bombers on Wednesday attacked Iraq's federal police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, killing a commander, officials said.
While violence has subsided significantly in Iraq in the past years, insurgents frequently target the country's government institutions and security forces in an effort to destabilize the U.S.-backed Iraqi authorities as American troops prepare to leave by the end of next year.
Police in Mosul, a former al-Qaida stronghold located 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, said three men with explosive vests attacked the compound housing Iraq's 1st Battalion of the National Police early Wednesday morning.
Police shot one of the bombers detonating his explosives vest in an open air yard after the three attackers entered the complex by slipping through a crack in the blast wall surrounding the grounds. The other two assailants ran to the entrance of the police headquarters a few yards away while the guards were distracted with the first blast.
One of the bombers entered the ground floor office of Lt. Col. Shamil Okla Ahmed al-Jabouri, where the commander of the 1st battalion of the Iraqi police was sleeping, and blew himself up, killing al-Jabouri instantly, a police officer at the scene said.
The other bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest on the ground floor of the building shortly after the first blast, police said.
The twin explosions were so powerful that they brought the police headquarters down, burying the slain commander and possibly others under the rubble, police said.
Hospital officials in the city confirmed the fatality and said they've treated one policeman who was wounded in the blast. Morgue officials in the city said they have not received any bodies.
Rescuers worked frantically to clear the rubble of the collapsed building to get to those possibly trapped underneath.
Abdul Raheem al-Shemeri, a top security official on the Mosul Provincial Council, said he believed al-Jabouri, who fought to rid the northern city of al-Qaida militants, was the target of Wednesday's attack.
"We've lost a sword of Mosul, who chased al-Qaida terrorists out of the city," al-Shemeri said, adding that al-Jabouri was believed to have been one of few people in the building when the bombers hit shortly after 6:00 AM, hours before the official start of the work day.
Militants had tried to kill al-Jabouri several times before, al-Shemeri and several police officials said. A few months ago, al-Jabouri's guards shot a suicide bomber who approached the commander in an attempt to blow himself up, police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
But suicide bombers have been al-Qaida's most lethal weapon in Iraq, killing hundreds of civilians and members of Iraq's security forces.
On Monday, two suicide attackers blew themselves up in front of a government office in Iraq's provincial capital of Ramadi in Anbar province in the west, killing nine people and wounding dozens.
In a separate incident Wednesday, five civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb hit an Iraqi police patrol in eastern Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
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Associated Press writer Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-29 14:04 GMT+08:00