Dec 16 2013, 9:58am CST | by IANS
Baghdad, Dec 16 — At least 37 people were killed and scores injured in separate incidents of violence in Iraq Monday even as the country's security forces stormed a city council building and rescued hostages taken by gunmen.
Security forces freed the hostages held by gunmen who entered the Tikrit city council building in the north. Six people were killed, including three suicide bombers, a counter-terrorism unit spokesman said.
"A special force stormed the building of the Tikrit city council and freed all the hostages," Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying.
The troops killed one suicide bomber, while two other bombers blew themselves up inside the city council of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, he added.
A provincial police source told Xinhua that Hameed al-Ajili, a council member, and two policemen were killed and five of the council's employees were wounded.
The attack occurred before noon when gunmen blew up a car bomb at the entrance of the city council to pave the way for three suicide bombers to break into the building, the source told Xinhua.
On Monday morning, at least 13 people were killed and 52 wounded in a series of bomb attacks, including four car bombings, across Iraq's capital Baghdad, a police source said.
"The latest reports said that a total of 13 people were killed and 52 wounded by the terrorist explosions across Baghdad," the source told Xinhua.
The deadliest attack occurred near Baghdad Provincial Council in the downtown area of the city when a car bomb detonated and killed six people and wounded 11 others, the source said.
Another car bomb went off at a busy parking lot, also in downtown Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 20 others.
Yet another car bomb went off in the adjacent neighbourhood of Sadriyah, killing at least one civilian and wounding five others, the source added.
A fourth car bomb detonated in Baiyaa district in the southern part of the capital, killing a civilian and wounding 15 people, he said.
In another incident, a civilian was wounded when gunmen opened fire at him in New Baghdad district in the south, he added.
South of Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a car detonated in the town of Mahmoudiyah, killing the driver, the source said.
Earlier in the day, a police source from Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin told Xinhua that at least three policemen and a gunman were killed in a coordinated car bomb and gunfire attack on the police headquarters in the city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad.
In a separate incident, gunmen Monday shot dead nine Shia pilgrims in the city of Mosul, the capital of Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, a provincial police source said.
The attack occurred around noon when gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims in the southwestern part of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, the source said.
The pilgrims were on their way from their city of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, to the holy Shia city of Karbala, some 110 km southwest of Baghdad, to commemorate the Arba'een ritual, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad's grandson and the third holy figure in Shia Islam.
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