Fallujah (Iraq), Mar 5: Gunmen killed 21 policemen in an attack on checkpoints in the western Iraqi city of Haditha earlier on Monday, security and medical officials said.
Lieutenant Colonel Owaid Khalaf said dozens of attackers carried out the attacks at checkpoints across the city, beginning at around 0430 IST. Five policemen were wounded in the concerted attacks, according to Khatab Omar, an official at Haditha hospital.
The attack in Haditha is the first major instance of violence in the town since a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a bank, killing nine people, including three police officers, and wounding eight others on March 2011. Haditha is in the western Sunni Arab province of Anbar.
It was one of several towns along the Euphrates valley that became Al-Qaeda strongholds after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. However, since 2006, local Sunni tribes have sided with the US military, and unrest has dwindled in Anbar as rebel fighters have been ejected from the region.