Truck bombs kill 16 people in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Two truck bombs struck separate communities north of Iraq's capital today, killing at least 16 people, Iraqi authorities said.

The bombings were the latest in a series of attacks in northern Iraq, indicating insurgents are targeting relatively unprotected areas as Iraqi security forces focus on tightening security in the cities.

The Iraqi government is eager to demonstrate it can protect the population following the withdrawal of US combat troops from urban areas nearly two months ago. But a recent series of high-profile bombings that have killed hundreds in both major cities and remote areas has raised concerns Iraqi forces are not up to the task.

Today's deadliest attack came at about 8am when a suicide truck bomber attacked a small police station in the remote village of Hamad north of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people, including six police, said officials from the Iraqi army and police.

Police at a checkpoint attempted to stop the truck, forcing the attacker to change direction and slam into a concrete barrier close to an open air market, they said. Twelve people were also wounded in the attack, said the police official.

Hamad is a primarily Sunni village that lies between Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit and Mosul, which the US military considers to be the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The second attack today occurred near Mosul in the city of Sinjar, where a parked truck bomb that exploded at about 10.15am killed at least four people and wounded 23 others, another police official said.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The attack follows a double suicide bombing earlier this month in Sinjar that devastated a cafe packed with young people in northwestern Iraq, killing at least 21 people.