Two bombings targeting al-Sahwa forces in Baghdad and Anbar killed 46 and wounded 54, Iraqi police said Sunday (July 18th).
Iraqi forces thwarted a third attack targeting citizens in Kirkuk.
Lt. Col. Hatim Ali of Baghdad police said a mentally challenged man wearing an explosives vest made his way through a crowd of al-Sahwa and Iraqi Army personnel Sunday morning in the town of al-Radhwaniyah, southwest of Baghdad. Al-Sahwa members were waiting to receive their salaries.
The bomb was detonated by remote control.
In the attack, 42 people were killed, including seven Iraqi Army personnel, and 47 were wounded, some in critical condition.
"The attack carries the fingerprints of al-Qaeda terrorist organization," said Capt. Hussain Khamees of the Iraqi Army's 2nd Regiment. He added al-Qaeda has been trying to use mentally challenged individuals to target crowds of al-Sahwa and police.
Khamees said the suicide bomber was 23-years-old and "is known in the area to be a mentally challenged person and everyone who sees him sympathizes with him. He is a loveable person, but the terrorists made him a prey for their evil intentions."
"We are at a continuous war against the terrorists and we will not retract for a single step in our war against them," said Sheikh Mohammed Abd, chief of al-Sahwa Council in al-Rahdwaniyah. "Today's bombing just strengthens our determination to uproot them from Iraq once and for all," said Sheikh Mohammed Abd, chief of al-Sahwa Council in al-Rahdwaniyah.
In Anbar, a suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest blew himself up at the headquarters of al-Sahwa forces in al-Qaim, near the Syrian border. Four al-Sahwa members were killed and seven others were wounded.
Meanwhile, the police command in Kirkuk province announced that its forces managed to thwart an attack from a suicide car bomb that was trying to enter a market in central Kirkuk. The car driver was arrested and confessed to being a member of al-Qaeda, police said.