An Iraqi provincial official says seven suicide bombers, disguised in a woman's all-covering robe, struck inside a camp for displaced people in the western province of Anbar, killing at least 14.
Councilman Taha Abdul-Ghani says the attack took place at dusk on Sunday as authorities were accommodating families that had fled from the Islamic State-held town of Qaim.
Abdul-Ghani says that a police colonel was among the dead. The officer became suspicious about the person in the long robe and walked up to the attacker, embracing him — presumably to reduce the number of casualties — as he detonated his explosives.
The explosion also wounded at least 20 people.
Iraqi forces have pushed IS out of most of Anbar, and are now in the final stages of a major offensive in the northern city of Mosul. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion is likely to fall on IS, which has carried out similar attacks in the past.
Lt. Col. Salam Hussein, of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces says most of the suicide bombers in Mosul are now women with seven blowing themselves up on Monday alone.
As hundreds of civilians flee the country's second largest city, Iraqi forces face a daunting threat — suicide bombers hiding among civilians and blowing themselves up the moment they reach soldiers.
Salam says: "Seven women faced our units but thank god our units stopped these women suicide bombers. Some women exploded themselves on fleeing families. This is an evil and cowardly attempt by terrorists to inflict the greatest losses on civilians and security forces."