Twenty Iraqi Troops Killed by Militants

In Iraq, militants launched an attack on an Iraqi military barracks in the northern region of the country killing 20 soldiers overnight. On Sunday, authorities said some of the troops killed were bound then shot at point blank range.

The barracks’ killings in Ayn al-Jahish village a tiny area just outside of Mosul a larger northern Iraqi city represented the most recent blow to the efforts of the Iraqi government to achieve some stability within the Sunni-dominated restive areas.

The assault was staged by the militants late on Saturday night, police announced. Some of those killed had been shot at very short range while others died when the barracks was stormed by the insurgents.

An official who confirmed the number of causalities said that 12 of the troops were found with their hands bound behind their backs with gunshots to their hands from close range.

The troops who were killed were in the area protecting a pipeline for oil that sends crude oil from Iraq to international destinations. The troops were also in charge of guarding a highway that was nearby.

It is common for attacks to take place on the pipeline in the area close to Mosul, a former stronghold for insurgents located over 225 miles to the northwest of the capital of Baghdad.

Saturday’s brazen attack has come amidst a surge in brutal violence to levels not seen in Iraq since 2008. The surge in violence has been the biggest challenge for the government’s efforts of stabilizing the country. The government is led by Shiites.

Last year in Iraq, the country experienced its highest death toll for one year since the worst part of the sectarian bloodletting in the country started to subside during 2007. The United Nations said that violence had killed 8.869 people in Iraq in 2013.

On April 17, an attack killed 12 soldiers while wounding 15 others in a military base that is west of the city of Mosul, the Nineveh province capital. The province remains one of the most violent in all of Iraq.

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