Iraq clashes, attacks kill 25
Baghdad: Violence, including fighting between security forces and militants, killed 25 people in Iraq on Tuesday, as the UN warned that sectarian attacks threaten to force more Iraqis from their homes.
Violence in Iraq has reached a level this year not seen since 2008, when the country was emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.
Militants attacked two police stations and a local official`s house in the towns of Rawa and Aana near the highway to Syria in Anbar province, killing seven police and the official`s brother, officers and doctors said.
Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi told journalists a large group of militants had attacked Aana, seeking to take control of security positions.
Security forces killed six of the militants, Assadi said, adding that SWAT units were deployed to the area.
Separately, soldiers battled militants in the Hamreen area north of Baghdad, killing four, while two soldiers were killed and nine wounded, officers said.
A helicopter pilot was wounded by gunfire in the operation, during which two militants were arrested and weapons seized, Army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi told a news agency.
Two officers said a helicopter had been shot down, but Zaidi insisted that it was able to return to base.
Militants, including those linked to al Qaeda, frequently target security forces and other government employees, and security forces have carried out major operations against them in recent months.
Attacks in Nineveh province in Iraq`s north also killed three people today, while violence in Babil province, south of Baghdad, killed two.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency said it was "increasingly concerned about the situation in Iraq, where recent waves of sectarian violence threaten to spark new internal displacement of Iraqis fleeing bombings and other attacks."
This year, "bombings and rising sectarian tensions have displaced some 5,000 Iraqis, with people mostly fleeing from Baghdad into Anbar and Salaheddin governorates, as well as causing displacement within Diyala and Nineveh governorates," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a statement.
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