January 3, 2011 / 10:28 AM / 10 years ago

Attack on intel service in northeast Iraq wounds 28

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber attacked an office of the Iraqi intelligence services in a city northeast of Baghdad on Monday, wounding 28 people, officials said.

Abdul-Nassir al-Mahdawi, governor of volatile Diyala province, said a roadside bomb blew up shortly before the car bomber attacked the intelligence office’s compound in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of the capital.

Mahdawi said 28 people were wounded in the blasts. The majority of them were female students from a next door school.

An Interior Ministry source in Baghdad put the toll at one person killed and 22 wounded, while a local police source said 15 were wounded. It was not clear whether the dead person the source was referring to was the attacker.

The suicide bomber was stopped at the gate to the compound, said Major Ghalib Attiya al-Jubouri, a spokesman for the police force in Diyala.

Overall violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since 2006-07, the height the sectarian slaughter between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi’ites triggered by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The number of civilians killed in 2010 was the lowest since the invasion, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

But Sunni Islamist groups like al Qaeda still battle U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces, particularly in Diyala, Baghdad and the turbulent northern province of Nineveh.

Suspected insurgents have stepped up their attacks on Iraqi police officers and soldiers in an effort to undermine faith in the security forces before a full U.S. military withdrawal due by the end of this year.

Separately, two U.S. soldiers were killed in central Iraq on Sunday night, the U.S. military said in a statement. It did not provide any further details.

Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed and Suadad al-Salhy; writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Michael Christie and Jon Hemming

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