Baghdad suicide bomb kills 6; province takes on militants
A suicide bomber targeted a police checkpoint in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least six people. South of the Iraqi capital, a provincial council approved a decision allowing authorities to demolish homes of convicted militants and banish their families from the province.
The Baghdad attacker, who was on foot, blew up his explosives-laden vest at a police checkpoint in the northern neighborhood of Shula, a police officer said. Three policemen and three civilians were killed and at least 15 people were wounded in the explosion, the officer added, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. The Sunni militant group has claimed previous such attacks against security forces and public places mainly in Shiite-dominated areas.
Meanwhile, the decision by the Babil Provincial Council reflects attempts by local authorities to try independently of the central government in Baghdad to rein in militant attacks in municipalities and provinces across the country battered by years of war. Hassan Fadaam, a Babil Provincial Council member, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that the council decision was approved on Tuesday in the provincial capital of Hillah, 95 kilometers south of Baghdad. It’s the first such decision in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Earlier, some pro-government Sunni tribes have demolished houses of those they accused of cooperating with the Islamic State group after the militants’ 2014 blitz captured large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq.
The decision will only apply to convicted militants who have exhausted all possibilities of appealing their convictions. A court order also must precede the demolishing of a house, Fadaam said, without clarifying where a family of an offender would go to, once banished from the province.
The decision also calls on Baghdad to hand over militants who are on death row for attacks carried out in a province to provincial authorities. A convict would then be executed in public in the province where he committed the crime, Fadaam added.