BAGHDAD (AP) — A string of attacks across Iraq killed 17 people on Saturday, including a senior military commander, a colonel and five soldiers who all died during a raid on an al-Qaida hideout, officials said.
Police officials said army Maj. Gen Mohammed al-Karawi, the colonel and the five troops were killed when they stormed the booby-trapped hideout in Rutba in Iraq's volatile Anbar province.
Al-Karawi, who commanded the Iraqi army's 7th Division, was leading a search operation hunting for al-Qaida fighters in the area. Four soldiers were wounded in the operation, police said.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki extended his condolences in a statement to those killed in the operation.
"Those heroes were carrying the noblest battles against the enemies of God and humanity," al-Maliki said.
He urged the Iraqi security forces to "eradicate the evil gangs and chase them everywhere."
Also in western Iraq, gunmen in a speeding car opened fire at a police checkpoint in the city of Fallujah earlier on Saturday, killing four officers.
In the north near the city of Kirkuk, an army officer and a soldier were killed when two mortar shells struck a military camp, officials said.
Shortly before sunset, gunmen broke into a food store in western Baghdad and killed two people and wounded three others, police said.
And in the town of Latifiyah, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, a mortar shell hit a group of Shiite pilgrims heading to the holy sites in the city of Karbala, killing two people and wounding seven, authorities said.