Iraqi forces kill, injure dozens of armed rebels

Iraqi forces kill, injure dozens of armed rebels
Tue Apr 23, 2013 21:29:29

Over two dozen people have been killed after Iraqi security forces clashed with armed rebels and al-Qaeda elements at an anti-government protest camp near the northern city of Kirkuk.

The violence erupted after armed insurgents, who had infiltrated into the camp, opened fire on government forces as they entered the protest camp in the town of Hawija, about 240 kilometers north of Baghdad, early on Tuesday.


Shortly after the clashes at Hawija protest camp, gunmen carried out revenge attacks on army checkpoints in the al-Rashad and al-Riyadh areas of Kirkuk province. Thirteen armed rebels were killed in the attacks, al-Alam correspondent reported from Iraq.


Army forces also managed to rescue 18 children who were used by armed insurgents as a human shield in the town of Hawija.


A UN envoy went to Kirkuk on Tuesday to meet with Iraqi officials on protest rallies in the town.


Meanwhile, the Iraqi cabinet formed a committee chaired by Saleh al-Mutlak to investigate the Hawija incidents.


Al-Alam correspondent also reported civil disobedience in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad.


The ministry of defense has said in a statement that security forces responded after coming under fire from gunmen inside the camp. It also said that government forces entered the camp to arrest members of a terrorist group known as Naqshbandiya, who were using the camp as a safe haven. The terrorist group of Naqshbandiya is affiliated to Izzat al-Douri, Saddam’s former vice president.


According to the ministry, 20 armed insurgents along with an army officer and two soldiers were killed in the clashes. Seven members of the military were also wounded.


Al-Alam correspondent further said that the Iraqi ministry of defense has stressed that the killed entities in Hawija were al-Qaeda elements and members of the deposed Ba’ath party.


The ministry of defense also announced that army forces arrested 75 armed mercenaries during the protest rally in Hawija.


Security officials say dozens of AK-47 assault rifles and several machine-guns were recovered at the scene.

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