Bomb attack kills 45 Iraqi soldiers

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BAGHDAD: Security officials in Iraq say at least 45 Iraqi soldiers have been killed and tens of others injured when a tank rigged with explosives struck an arms depot in northern province of Salahuddin.

The officials said the attack took place in the town of Tharthar, situated 120 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad, on Monday when an assailant blew up the tank inside the military site, Arabic-language al-Baghdadia satellite television network reported.

At least 33 soldiers also sustained injuries in the act of violence.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing; however, such attacks bear the hallmarks of ISIS.

A wave of bomb attacks carried out by ISIS extremists in Iraq’s western province of Anbar claimed the lives of at least 17 soldiers late on May 26.

Brigadier General Saad Maan Ibrahim, the spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Military Command, said the militants cashed in on a sandstorm, which blinded most of Iraq, to launch the deadly attacks outside Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers west of Baghdad.

Ibrahim added that the ISIS terrorists struck from multiple directions at the Iraqi troops, who had converged near a water control station and a lock system on a canal between Lake Tharthar and the Euphrates River.

The attacks happened shortly after the Iraqi army announced the start of a full-fledged onslaught to retake areas currently held by ISIS in Anbar.

The most recent attack comes as Iraqi volunteer fighters have gained more ground in their battles against ISIS in the same province.

According a statement released by the Iraqi Defense Ministry on Monday, the forces wrested control over Qaryat ar Rafi’at district following fierce exchange of fire with the extremists.

On Saturday, Iraqi army troops backed by fighters from Popular Mobilization units managed to liberate Morur district, southwest of Ramadi, from the clutches of ISIS.

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