BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed eight people, including six policemen, and wounded 10 in a market in the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat late Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said.
The bomber detonated an explosives belt when police and civilians gathered to inspect the site of a roadside bomb minutes earlier, in which no one had been hurt, the source said.
Shirqat is 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad at the northern edge of mainly Sunni Salahuddin province, once a hotbed of Sunni Islamist militants.
The attack followed a twin suicide car bomb assault on Sunday outside the Trade Bank of Iraq in central Baghdad, killing 26 people in the latest big attack to raise concerns about the country’s stability after an inconclusive March election.
The bombings are fuelling fears that insurgents are trying to exploit a political vacuum that followed the vote, which produced no clear winner and is yet to yield a government.
Overall violence has dropped sharply since the all-out sectarian warfare of 2006-07, but shootings and bombings continue daily, frequently targeting security forces, officials or former Sunni insurgents who switched sides.
The political uncertainty threatens to muddy U.S. plans to end combat operations in August ahead of a full U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011.
While there was no outright election winner, a merger of the main Shi’ite-led coalitions in the new parliament is expected to squeeze out the vote leader, a cross-sectarian alliance heavily backed by Sunnis, in the competition to form a government.
Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Michael Roddy