Five police killed in Iraq desert attack

Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in Iraq`s western desert, close to the Syrian and Jordanian borders.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2012, 23:18 PM IST

Ramadi (Iraq): Gunmen attacked a police
checkpoint in Iraq`s western desert, close to the Syrian and
Jordanian borders, killing five policemen this morning,
security and medical officials said.

The attack took place soon after midnight about 500
kilometres west of Baghdad in mostly Sunni Anbar province,
according to a police officer in Ramadi, the provincial
capital.

Five policemen, including a lieutenant, were killed, he
said on condition of anonymity.

One of the attackers was killed in clashes that ensued
between the gunmen and police, while the others set off a bomb
attached to a nearby caravan and, using that as a distraction,
fled the scene.

The total number of gunmen who carried out the assault
was not clear.

A medic at Ramadi hospital confirmed the facility received
the bodies of the five policemen killed, and that they died of
gunshot wounds.

The attack came on the heels of a similar assault on a
police compound in Ramadi itself, where a series of car and
suicide bombs preceded gunmen storming the compound and laying
siege to it, killing seven policemen before blowing themselves
up.

Anbar was a key Sunni insurgent base in the years after
the US-led invasion of 2003, but after 2006 local tribes sided
with the American military against al-Qaeda and day-to-day
violence has dropped dramatically.

However, the province, particularly its capital, has been
the target of frequent attacks since.

PTI