Canadian prime minister visits Iraq as bomb attacks kill 13

The Canadian government has announced $139 million in additional aid to address the refugee crisis around the region.

Chris Wattie/Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits with Kurdish soldiers near Erbil, Iraq, on Saturday.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise visit Saturday to Iraq pledging to continue its support for the country's battle against the Islamic State group.

The prime minister's visit to both Baghdad and Iraq's Kurdish region in the north came as seven women and children were killed by a roadside bomb and a suicide blast killed six Iraqi troops.

The UN mission in Iraq reported Saturday that 812 Iraqis, including 277 members of security forces and allied militias, were killed in April, with more than 300 civilians slain in and around Baghdad alone.

The Canadian government has announced $139 million in additional aid to address the refugee crisis around the region precipitated by the fighting, in addition to the $67 million already committed to Iraq.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi received Mr. Harper in Baghdad. Canada is part of the US-led international coalition supporting the Iraqi military with airstrikes, training, and weapons.

Harper pledged to continue his government's support for Iraq.

"Canada will not stand idly by while ISIS threatens Canadians and commits barbaric acts of violence and injustice in Iraq against innocent civilians," Harper said in a statement, referring to the Islamic State group by an alternate acronym.

Mr. Al-Abadi hailed Canada's role in that coalition as "essential" and called on the international community to join forces against the extremist threat as "terrorism is not only threatening Iraq, but the region and the whole world."

Meanwhile Saturday, a bomb killed five women and two children traveling in a minibus in the eastern Diyala province, police said. Islamic State fighters were largely driven out of the eastern province earlier this year but still plant roadside bombs.

In Anbar province, six troops were killed and nine were wounded when a suicide car bomber drove an explosive-rigged Humvee into their headquarters in the town of Garma, another police officer said. The dead included three soldiers and three militia members, he said.

Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.