Dozens killed in attacks on Baghdad police stations

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The Independent Online

Insurgents launched two major attacks today against police stations in Baghdad. About 30 people, including at least 16 police officers, were reportedly killed. One of the attacks was a car bomb, police said.

The attacks occurred in the western Amil district and in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Azamiyah, where police said a car bomb exploded during a clash between Iraqi government security forces and armed rebels around the police station.

Gunmen stormed a police station in Amil near the road to Baghdad International Airport, killing 16 policemen, looting weapons, releasing detainees and torching several cars, Police Capt. Mohammed al-Jumeili said.

Later, 14 people were killed and 19 others injured in Azamiyah, according to the Numan hospital. Azamiyah was a major center of support for Saddam Hussein.

Thick black smoke rose from the burning vehicles after the attack in the western Amil district as government forces sealed off the area.

The insurgents shelled the station with mortars, and then about 15 of them stormed its main courtyard and clashed with police inside. Several policemen were wounded, al-Jumeili said.

Detainees being held at the station were also hurt, al-Jumeili said. There was no word on the insurgents' casualties.

The attacks were the latest against Iraq's police and security services, which have been targeted throughout central, western and northern Iraq in recent weeks.

The highway leading to Baghdad International Airport on the capital's western outskirts is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Iraq. Rebels have repeatedly targeted US troops and Iraqi government forces on the busy thoroughfare.