MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Eight people were killed and 19 wounded on Saturday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi army checkpoint next to a market in the northern city of Mosul, police and hospital sources said.
Attacks against Iraq’s army and police are rising as they prepare to take full responsibility for security in the country ahead of a full withdrawal of U.S. troops by December 31, more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
“Eight killed, 19 wounded. Five soldiers were killed and three civilians, and two soldiers are among the wounded,” Nineveh province police Lieutenant Colonel Mahmoud al-Jibouri told Reuters. The toll is final.
A hospital source confirmed the number of dead and wounded and said the attack had taken place at a popular market in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad.
“The suicide bomber exploded himself at the entrance where Iraqi soldiers were manning a checkpoint to frisk people entering the market,” the hospital source said.
“The attack took place at the peak business hours for this market.”
Mosul is regarded as Sunni Islamist al Qaeda’s last remaining urban base after the group was kicked out of many parts of Baghdad and western Anbar province by U.S. troops allied with local Sunni Arab tribal militias in 2007.
Although violence has dropped sharply since the height of sectarian warfare in 2006/07, bombings and killings remain a daily occurrence and insurgents are still capable of carrying out lethal attacks.
At least eight people were killed and 17 wounded on Thursday when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Diyala province.
Reporting by Jamal al-Badrani; Writing by Serena Chaudhry; editing by Robert Woodward