Eight killed in car-bomb attack at Iraqi checkpoint

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - At least eight people were killed and 12 wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a security checkpoint in western Iraq, the local mayor said on Wednesday.

The attacker drove a car rigged with explosives into the checkpoint in Qaim district, which was jointly manned by the army and Shi’ite militias, Mayor Ahmed al-Mehlawy told Reuters.

Five militiamen and three civilians were killed, Mehlawy said. Some of the wounded were in a critical condition, he said. The Iraqi military put the initial death toll at seven.

“Security forces in the Qaim district noticed a suspect Kia vehicle and shot at it after it turned out to be rigged and driven by a suicidal terrorist, which led to its explosion and the death of seven people, including four from the security forces and three civilians,” the military said in a statement.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and said it killed 28 people, contradicting the official death tolls.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December, dislodging the group from all the territory it held after its self-proclaimed caliphate, which also encompassed part of Syria, collapsed earlier in 2017.

Security forces retook Qaim, which lies 300 km (185 miles) west of Baghdad in the Sunni province of Anbar, on the border with Syria, in November. It was one of the last remaining territories in the country held by Islamic State.

The group’s fighters have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings.

Reporting by Kamal Ayash; additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Larry King