Last updated: 24 September, 2012

Four Iraqi schoolchildren killed in blast

A car bomb targeting security forces killed four Iraqi primary school pupils on Monday, while two police were shot dead and five bodies found in north Iraq, security and medical officials said.

The car bomb was parked near a school in the town of Heet, 160 kilometres (100 miles) west of Baghdad, and exploded around 8:00 am (0500 GMT) as a security forces anti-terrorism unit passed by, while children were arriving for classes.

Colonel Ayada al-Nimrawi, deputy police chief in Heet, said the blast killed four children and wounded another two. Dr Subhi Abed al-Alwani confirmed the toll.

They said members of the security patrol were unscathed.

United Nations envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler condemned the attack, saying in a statement that it “is a shocking act of violence against the innocent.”

“For schools to be attacked is a despicable crime and we are particularly distressed to learn that some of the victims were young children,” Kobler said.

“Whether the school was intended as the target or not, no child should pay the price for violence carried out at the hands of criminals.”

Also on Monday, gunmen shot dead two policemen and wounded another in an attack on a checkpoint in restive, ethnically mixed Kirkuk city in Iraq’s north, a senior security official and Dr Meteen Omar Qader said.

And five bodies were found in the desert about 60 kilometres (37.5 miles) west of the Mosul, also in north Iraq, police First Lieutenant Salam al-Juburi and Dr Mahmud Hadad said.

Violence in Iraq has decreased from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but deadly attacks still occur almost every day.

With the latest violence, at least 181 people have been killed and 677 wounded in attacks in Iraq so far this month, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.