Iraqi militants accidentally kill 21 of their own

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014
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The militants were attending a lesson on making car bombs and explosive belts when a glitch set off one of the devices during the car bomb part of the demonstration. Security forces rushed to the area after hearing the thunderous blast and arrested 12 wounded militants along with another 10 trying to flee.

Authorities searched two houses and a garage in the orchard, finding seven car bombs as well as several explosive belts and roadside bombs. The cars did not have license plates. Bomb experts then started the work of defusing the devices.

Later Monday, a bomb exploded near a cafe in western Baghdad shortly after nightfall, killing three people and wounding 11 others, according to police and medical officials who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The U.S. strongly condemned the assassination attempt on parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a roadside bombing that wounded one of his bodyguards.

"Speaker Nujaifi has been a strong partner of the United States' efforts in Iraq and we are grateful that he was unharmed in the attack," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. "Today's attack exemplifies the danger terrorist groups pose to all Iraqis, and the importance of Iraqi leaders from all communities working together to isolate militant groups from the broader population."

Violence has spiked in Iraq since last April, when security forces cracked down on a Sunni protest camp north of Baghdad in clashes that left 45 dead.

The situation deteriorated significantly in late December, when security forces dismantled a protest camp near the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi. To defuse the tension, the security forces withdrew from Ramadi and the nearby city of Fallujah. ISIL militants promptly took over parts of Ramadi and the center of Fallujah.

The Iraqi government and allied tribes launched an offensive on Jan. 26 to wrest control of the cities back from the militants. Sporadic clashes are still continuing around Fallujah and in some parts of Ramadi, with only limited success by security forces.

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Associated Press writer Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.