BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials said Islamic State suicide bombers attacked a federal police headquarters north of the city of Ramadi on Monday, killing 40 Iraqi officers including senior policemen and unit commanders.
Intelligence officials at military command centers in Anbar province said that bombers drove military vehicles laden with explosives into the building, in the town of Al Tharthar, during a large gathering of officers. An additional 36 police were injured.
They said the vehicles were seized by Islamic State during its May takeover of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar.
The Sunni militant group hasn’t claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack is a setback for Iraqi forces, which last month had cleared parts of Al Tharthar, an Anbar town north of the provincial capital of Ramadi and 100 miles from Baghdad, of Islamic State fighters.
Islamic State has made the Sunni-majority western province of Anbar the focal point of its expansion in Iraq. Last month it seized Ramadi from the country’s armed forces after a battle of attrition that lasted more than a year.
That victory, under cover of a sandstorm, was seen as a major defeat for Iraq’s military and brought the Obama administration’s strategy there under further scrutiny.
In late May, military and paramilitary forces launched attacks around the city in what the officials said was the start of a counteroffensive against the group.
On Friday, the militants claimed midnight car bombings at two of Baghdad’s most luxurious hotels, popular with both foreigners and the city’s elite. Three were confirmed dead and another 17 injured in the attacks.
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