Islamic State hits Fallujah with suicide car bombs that kill eight people
Eight people were killed in two car bombings in the Iraqi city of Fallujah west of Baghdad on Sunday, police and hospital sources said, as a news agency close to the Islamic State (IS) group said its militants carried out the attacks.
The bombings took place as Iraqi forces wage an eight-week military campaign to crush IS in its northern Iraq stronghold of Mosul, the largest city in its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
The fact that the militant group was able to carry out the attack in Fallujah, which the Iraqi army recaptured in June, suggests it will continue to pose a threat in Iraq even if it is finally crushed in Mosul.
The sources said a suicide bomber detonated a car at a security checkpoint in the west of the city, and a second bomb in a parked car struck the centre near a security checkpoint and a busy cafe.
Sources at the hospital where casualties from both incidents were brought said eight bodies were delivered to the hospital.
The Amaq news agency, which is close to IS, said both attacks were carried out by suicide car bombers.
The attacks in Fallujah occurred on the day that US Defence Secretary Ash Carter visited Iraq for talks with political leaders and the US commander of the international coalition force supporting them in the gruelling Mosul campaign.
Elite Iraqi counter-terrorism forces have taken about a quarter of the city of Mosul from IS militants, but they have faced fierce counter-attacks from snipers, mortar barrages and hundreds of suicide car bombs.
Rebels in Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to IS in January 2014, put up only limited resistance in June, military officials said at the time, in contrast to the fierce defence the militants have put up in Mosul.