ISIS suicide bombers penetrate Iraq army HQ, kill general

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Four Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group suicide bombers infiltrated an army headquarters west of Baghdad, killing an Iraqi general and five other soldiers, army and police officers said on Tuesday (March 1).

The bombers attacked a regimental headquarters in the Haditha area of Anbar province late on Monday (Feb 29), killing Staff Brigadier General Ali Aboud, Lieutenant Colonel Farhan Ibrahim and four others, the sources said.

Major General Ali Ibrahim Daboun, the head of the Al-Jazeera Operations Command, said one suicide bomber blew himself up inside Aboud's office, while the other three detonated explosives elsewhere inside the headquarters.

Seven soldiers were also wounded in the attack, Daboun said.

Colonel Faruq al-Jughaifi, the Haditha police chief, confirmed the attack, saying it took place near a major dam in the area, and that the bombers were dressed in military uniforms.

Jihadist group ISIS claimed the attack in a statement posted online but mentioned only two suicide bombers saying they were Syrian nationals.

ISIS overran swathes of Iraq, including large parts of Anbar, in a sweeping offensive launched in June 2014, but has largely been on the defensive in the province since the middle of last year.

Iraqi tribesmen and security personnel defending Haditha, which lies near the country's second largest dam, have held off ISIS for more than 18 months with the help of air strikes by a US-led coalition.

The war with ISIS has taken a heavy toll on senior Iraqi officers in Anbar.

Two heads of the Anbar Operations Command were wounded in 2015, while the commanders of a division and a brigade were killed in Anbar in April of that year. The province's governor was wounded in 2014.

Senior army and police commanders have also been killed in other provinces.