A suicide bomber dressed in an all-covering robe killed 14 people at a refugee camp, according to officials.
The deaths happened at a camp housing displaced people in part who have left areas held by Isis, Iraqi authorities in Baghdad said.
A police officer who died in the attack had become suspicious about the attacker and walked up to him to embrace him – apparently as a way of sacrificing himself to minimise the number of casualties – and the attacker detonated the explosives as he did so. That police colonel and another 13 people are now dead, said Councilman Taha Abdul-Ghani, alongside 20 more who are injured.
There was no official claim of responsibility for the attack, though suspicion fell immediately on Isis. The group has been pushed almost entirely out of Anbar, where the attack took place, and Iraqi forces now in the final stages of a major offensive in the northern city of Mosul.
The attack was just one of a handful of such blasts to hit the country in recent days. Isis appears to be launching them as it loses ground in Mosul, killing people as they attempt to leave the city’s Old Town amid an increase in fighting in the city’s small streets.
Sergeant Ali Abdullah Hussein said the attack was the latest by the Islamic State group as Iraqi forces close in on the last pocket of militant-held territory in the Old City neighborhood. The IS group’s last stand in Mosul is rapidly shrinking, with the militants now controlling just over 1 square kilometer in all.
Hussein says the attack happened on Monday morning in the area of the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque.
He said that over the past three days, at least four such attacks have targeted Iraqi forces as hundreds of civilians flee the fierce fighting in the Old City’s congested streets.