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22 killed in air strikes on two Iraqi cities

Updated: 2014-06-25 16:18
( Xinhua)

22 killed in air strikes on two Iraqi cities
US mulls airstrikes in Iraq 
BAGHDAD -- A total of 22 people were killed and some 36 others wounded in air strikes carried out by Iraqi aircraft on two cities in Iraq's northern and western provinces, security source said on Wednesday.

In the province of Nineveh, unidentified warplanes bombed the municipality building and adjacent two houses in the militant- seized town of Baaj, some 120 km west of the provincial capital Mosul, leaving six people killed and six others wounded, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The provincial source and residents in the town, which located near the Iraqi-Syrian border, believed the warplanes belonged to the Syrian air force, yet they could not confirm the allegations.

The Sunni-majority province of Nineveh and its capital Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, have long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants, since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In Salahudin province, Iraqi helicopters carried out air strikes late on Tuesday night on the northern neighborhoods of the city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, leaving 16 people killed, including four from one family, and wounding more than 30 others, most of them were women and children, a provincial security source said.

Earlier, insurgent groups including those who are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida offshoot, overran the city of Baiji as well as large parts of the province of Salahudin, including its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad.

On Tuesday, a security source from Iraq's western province of Anbar told Xinhua that unidentified aircraft carried out air strikes on the cities of Rutba, some 120 km east of the Iraqi- Jordanian border, and al-Qaim near the Syrian border, leaving a total of 69 people killed and 144 others wounded.

Residents in both cities believed the warplanes were with the Syrian air force, but the source could not confirm the allegations.

Over the past two weeks, Iraq has seen a deteriorating security situation when bloody clashes broke out between security forces and Sunni militants, who have seized several key Iraqi cities, and large swathes of territories in Nineveh province and other predominantly Sunni provinces.