Baghdad – Three children were killed on Wednesday when a bomb planted in a rubbish bin near a school in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul exploded as students were leaving classes in the afternoon. Their deaths brought the number of civilians killed by insurgents in the city on Wednesday to five, medics and police said.
The bomb’s intended target was a US military patrol of the Mosul neighborhood of al-Rashidiya, but no soldiers were wounded in the blast. One other child was wounded in the explosion, Baghdad’s Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency reported, citing medics.
Earlier on Wednesday, twin bombs killed one Iraqi civilian and injured seven others in another district of the city. The first targeted US soldiers patrolling the al-Bakr district of eastern Mosul.
No soldiers were injured in that blast, either, but one civilian was killed and three others were wounded, a source in the Mosul police department told the German Press Agency dpa, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Shortly afterwards, another bomb exploded, apparently targeting an Iraqi policeman on patrol in the eastern Mosul neighbourhood of al-Tahrir. That blast severely injured the policeman and three civilians, police told dpa.
And on Wednesday afternoon, the body of a man from the minority Yezidi religious sect was found in a field in the northern province of Nineveh, an area where in recent years many Christians and members of other religious minorities in Iraq have been killed by Islamist extremists, VOI reported.
Sunni extremists regard Yezidis as heretics, and members of the religious group say they have been subject to discrimination. Many Yezidis have fled Iraq to find refuge in other countries.
Wednesday’s deaths came after Iraqi security forces arrested 19 insurgents in Mosul, including the “minister of finance” for the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organisation encompassing several Sunni insurgent groups including al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The group, which aims to eject foreign troops from Iraq and to establish an Islamic state, in 2007 said it had created “an Islamic administration,” including a 10-member cabinet.
Iraqi security forces have arrested more than 100 insurgents in Mosul, some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad, since they began an offensive dubbed “Operation New Hope” on February 20. Insurgents have responded with near-daily attacks in and near the city, which remains among Iraq’s most dangerous.