A series of bomb blasts Sunday targeting a compound housing Kurdish security and intelligence forces in the northeast Iraq province of Diyala killed at least 58 people and wounded scores more, according to Iraqi officials.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest at the entrance to the compound, in the village of Qara Taba. That blast was then followed by two car bombings.
The Islamic State took responsibility for the triple attack in a Twitter message, claiming that the three suicide bombers were non-Iraqi jihadists.
Bashir Dalawi, a member of the Qara Taba municipal council, told the Associated Press that at least 107 people were wounded in the attack.
The bombings were among a string of assaults launched across Iraq during the weekend.
On Sunday morning, a provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Sadak, was killed by a roadside bomb while traveling in a convoy north of Ramadi, capital of western Anbar province.
Prime Minister Haider Abadi called Sadak, a Sunni Muslim who took the post only in July, a patriot “who sacrificed himself and his blood to defend his country.’’
On Saturday night, three car bombs exploded in Shiite Muslim neighborhoods of Baghdad. In a Twitter message Sunday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for two of the bombings, both suicide attacks. The group boasted that it was able to detonate the explosions despite a heightened security alert.
At the scene of one suicide bombing, in the Shula neighborhood, a pickup truck crammed with about 120 pounds of explosives blew up and left a huge black crater in the street next to a police checkpoint. At least eight civilians were killed and 24 wounded. A second car bomb aimed at snarled traffic nearby killed 17 people and wounding 28.
A police officer used a fire hose Sunday morning to wash away blood and debris next to the scorched remains of 17 vehicles incinerated in the blast. On a nearby blast wall, a fresh poster was added to others commemorating the dead -- among them two parents and two children, ages 6 and 12.
“There were human beings in those vehicles -- women and children,’’ a uniformed lieutenant with the state security service said, speaking in English he said he learned from U.S. military trainers. “This is terrorism straight from Daesh,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
The lieutenant, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to reporters, said Islamic State fighters operate throughout the city, even in Shiite neighborhoods like Shula. But while they can set off car bombs and carry out killings, he said, they are not capable of overrunning Baghdad.
“With every car bomb, they try to terrify the people but it just angers them and motivates them,” the lieutenant said, adding that the attacks prompt more support and recruits for the Shiite militias that dominate large sections of Baghdad.
On Sunday, meanwhile, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. military recently deployed Apache helicopters to prevent Iraqi forces from being overrun by an Islamic State attack just 15 miles from Baghdad International Airport.
If the militants had broken through Iraqi security lines, Dempsey told ABC’s “This Week” news program, “it was a straight shot to the airport.”
Dempsey added: “We’re not going to allow that. We need that airport.”
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