Iraq bomb attacks end Ramadan lull

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A series of bomb attacks across Iraq killed at least 13 people on Monday, police said, ending a period of relative quiet following the Muslim holy month.

In western Anbar province, a water tanker truck packed with explosives blew up near an emergency police brigade station, killing seven policemen and wounding 10 others, said Hussein Ali, a police major in the area west of the city of Ramadi.

The driver of the truck was killed in the attack, which burned out half a dozen cars and damaged the police station.

Earlier in the day, a bomb planted on a minibus traveling north toward Baghdad exploded, killing at least three passengers and wounded two others just north of Diwaniya, 150 km (95 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, police said.

A police colonel at the scene said the number of those killed was six, but another police officer put the death toll at three.

Later, a series of bombs in western Baghdad — an initial explosion followed by another just as people gathered at the blast site — killed at least three people, including the commander of the local army battalion.

Baghdad security sources said that nine soldiers were wounded in the attack in Ghazaliya district, but a second police source said the bombs wounded 28 people.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since the height of the sectarian killing unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

This month, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Iraqis enjoyed the most tranquil Eid al-Fitr holiday in years. Parks and restaurants in Baghdad were packed by revelers who came out in force to enjoy newfound calm.

Still, roadside bombs, shootings and suicide attacks remain common, raising questions about local security forces’ ability to keep Iraqis safe as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw by 2012.

Iraqi police and soldiers remain a prime target for insurgents. Increasingly common are attacks using “sticky bombs,” explosives planted on cars using magnets or other means.

(Reporting by Imad al-Khuzaii; writing by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by Missy Ryan and Dominic Evans/David Stamp))


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