16 May 2016

Iraq factory bomb attacks kill 14

6:47 am on 16 May 2016

An Islamic State (IS) suicide-bomb attack near the base in Iraq where New Zealand troops are stationed has killed at least 14 people and wounded 20.

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. (file photo)

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. (file photo) Photo: AFP

The assault on a state-run gas plant near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, began when three car bombs exploded at the gate.

Six men wearing explosive belts then rushed in and blew up gas tanks, before security forces regained control of the plant.

IS, which controls large parts of western and northern Iraq, has increased its attacks in the Baghdad governorate recently.

A suicide car bomb went off at the entrance of the facility in Taji 6am local time (3pm NZT) yesterday, allowing another vehicle carrying at least six attackers with explosive vests to enter the facility where they clashed with security forces, the sources said.

A spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command said three of the facility's gas storages were set alight amid the violence before security forces were able to bring the situation under control.

A factory employee who lives nearby said after hearing a powerful blast he saw flames and black smoke coming from inside the factory.

Dozens of police and army vehicles rushed to the facility where shooting lasted for about an hour, he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but IS militants controlling vast swathes of the country's north and west have conducted bombings this week that killed around 100 people.

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday the militants were taking advantage of a political crisis in the country, sparked by his attempt to overhaul its quota-based governing system, to conduct bombings in areas under nominal government control.

A US-led coalition backing the Iraqi government in its fight against Islamic State has been training army forces for months at a military base located in Taji.

- Reuters