Mar
05

Al-Qaida kill 25 Iraqi police officers

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Gang kidnap and execute two police commanders and then attack two checkpoints before hoisting al-Qaida flag in Haditha

A gang of gunmen wearing military-style uniforms has killed 25 police officers in a carefully planned early morning shooting spree in western Iraq, officials said.

The killings began with the gang kidnapping two police commanders from their homes in the western Iraqi city of Haditha at around 2am on Monday. It ended with the gang raising the flag of al-Qaida at a police checkpoint in the latest bloody strike against Iraq’s security forces.

Officials in Haditha, 140 miles north-west of Baghdad, described a systematic plot to kill city police, with attackers disguising themselves in military uniforms and driving cars painted to look like Iraqi interior ministry vehicles.

Both of the commanders were roused from their homes by gunmen claiming they had warrants for their arrests, said Mohammed Fathi, spokesman for the governor of Iraq’s western Anbar province.

The commanders – a captain and a colonel who served as the city’s SWAT team – were taken less than a quarter of a mile away and shot, Haditha police said.

Fathi said the gang had false arrest warrants for 15 police officials. As their convoy, said to be 13 vehicles long, moved through the city, they were stopped at two police checkpoints.

Fierce gunfights ensued at each checkpoint, and the gang raised the black flag of al-Qaida at the second one, the lieutenant said. Haditha is a former Sunni insurgent stronghold of about 85,000 people along the Euphrates River valley.

The entire raid lasted about half an hour, officials said. Fathi said 25 policemen were killed and three wounded.

Police at the scene said three of the gunmen were killed but the rest escaped.

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