Security deaths in Anbar car blast, IS kidnap 60 whistle-blowers
Anbar (IraqiNews.com) An indefinite number of security personnel died and sustained injuries Tuesday in a booby-trapped car explosion west of Anbar as Islamic State militants kidnapped many for exposing planned suicide bombings.
Nazem al-Jugheifi, a senior leader at the pro-government al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), said in statements the trapped vehcile exploded near a security checkpoint in al-Sakkar, a region in al-Rutba, west of the province. He said there were reports of casualties among security troops.
He also added that Islamic State militants had kidnapped 60 civilians accused of uncovering group plans for suicide attacks at the western region.
Jugheifi said the kidnapped individuals had exposed plans to carry out the attacks with four suicide bombers in the town of Haditha, but pointed out that no attacks have been reported yet there, and that security was searching the city for the potential bombers.
Islamic State has stepped attacks across Iraq coinciding with defeats in Mosul, its largest stronghold in Iraq of which Iraqi government troops have recaptured a half since October. The group has maintained smaller strongholds in western Anbar towns since 2014, but no official campaign has been declared yet by the government to drive militants out of those regions. Anbar’s security command, backed by tribal troops, launched early January a brief onslaught against the Islamic State in western Anbar. The campaign, which, unlike that in Mosul, was not officially declared by the cabinet, managed to retake a few villages before halting again.