Insurgents set off at least two car bombs and attacked a police station today in the central Iraqi town of Samarra, killing at least 19 people and injuring 23, according to police and health officials.
Police officer Qahtan Mohammed confirmed that a group of armed militants stormed a police station at 9am (6am Irish time) in the Zera district, leaving 12 policemen dead and injuring one.
In the other attacks, a suicide car bomber detonated explosives inside a stolen police car near the mayor’s office, police said. A second car bomb exploded in a residential area of the city near a US base and a mortar fell on a crowded market.
Police Maj. Saadoun Ahmed Matroud said 18 of the 19 killed in the multiple attacks were policemen.
Samarra hospital officials said a total of 23 people were injured, many of them policemen.
Meanwhile, the US military confirmed two car bombs had exploded in Samarra, wounding five Iraqi security forces, but it was unclear if they were referring to the same incidents
Four soldiers from an Iraqi police battalion were wounded when a car bomb detonated near a coalition patrol in Samarra at 10am (7am Irish time), the military said. There were no reports of any coalition casualties.
At 9.30am (6.30am Irish time), an Iraqi National Guard soldier identified a car bomb and destroyed the vehicle, which appeared to have been a stolen police car. One Iraqi soldier was wounded in the blast, the military said.
In September, US and Iraqi forces seized control of Samarra, north of the capital. Since then, Iraqi officials said the city has been an example of how the Americans and the Baghdad government can restore order in restive towns and cities from the insurgents.