At least 22 people are killed and 44 others wounded after a bomb exploded in Taji town, some 25 kilometers north of Baghdad. The Monday blast in the town of Taji mostly targeted members of the anti-Qaeda militia, Sahwa, who were collecting their salaries, but soldiers were also among the casualties.
The Sahwa, otherwise known as the Awakening Councils or Sons of Iraq, are made up of a collection of tribal militias, which are often targeted by militants linked to al-Qaeda who regard them as traitors.On Sunday, over 30 people were killed and about 70 others wounded in coordinated attacks on police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The attacks were carried out when gunmen stormed a police compound in the center of the city after a car bomb went off near the building. Iraq has seen less violence in the past few years but terrorist attacks remain common. Among Iraqi regions, Baghdad and Diyala have the highest per capita rate of civilian deaths in the country, according to monitor group Iraq Body Count. Nearly two dozen people, including children, were killed and 80 others injured in attacks carried out in several cities and towns in the country on the last day of 2012. The Iraqi government has stepped up efforts to increase security across the country over the past few months. PG/JR