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Wednesday 24 January 2018

29 killed as IS launches attacks on Iraqi capital

Iraqi firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at a natural gas plant in Taji (AP)
Iraqi firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at a natural gas plant in Taji (AP)
Several suicide bombers and militants broke into the plant and clashed with security forces (AP)

Islamic State (IS) has launched a coordinated assault on a natural gas plant north of Baghdad which killed at least 14 people, while a string of other bomb attacks in and around the capital killed 15 others.

The attack on the gas plant started at dawn with a suicide car bomber hitting the facility's main gate in the town of Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad.

Several suicide bombers and militants then broke into the plant and clashed with the security forces, an official said, adding that 27 troops were wounded.

The IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency credited a group of "Caliphate soldiers" for the attack.

Iraq's deputy oil minister Hamid Younis said firefighters managed to control and extinguish a fire caused by the explosions. Mr Younis added that technicians are examining the damage.

A car bomb targeting a shopping area in the town of Latifiyah, about 20 miles south of the capital, killed seven people, including two soldiers, police and hospital officials said.

Eighteen people were also wounded in the attack, four of whom were soldiers.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, three separate bomb attacks targeted commercial areas, killing at least eight civilians and wounding 28 others, police added.

Sunday's attacks killed 29 people in total across Iraq. Since Wednesday, more than 140 people have been killed in a spate of bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere.

IS extremists still control significant areas in northern and western Iraq, including the second-largest city of Mosul. It has declared an Islamic caliphate on the territory it holds in Iraq and Syria.

The group has recently increased its attacks far from the front lines in a campaign which Iraqi officials say is an attempt to distract from their recent battlefield losses.

Press Association

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