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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baghdad Suicide Bomb Blast

10 officers die in Baghdad suicide blast.

Baghdad suicide Bomb Blast
A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb on Monday morning at a police station north of Baghdad, killing at least 10 police officers, police and health officials said.

Monday's attack in Samarra, 95km north of Baghdad, comes less than 10 days after a suicide bomber targeted Shi'ite pilgrims returning from a religious ceremony at the city's al-Askari mosque. Thirty-six were killed in that attack.

Two police officers said the Monday morning suicide bombing also wounded at least 22 people. A hospital official confirmed the casualty figures.

Samarra has been a flashpoint spot ever since a 2006 attack by al-Qaida destroyed part of the golden-domed mosque in the city revered by Shi'ites. The event sparked a vicious bloodbath between the country's Shi'ite majority and Sunni minority that swept through the country.

Shi'ite pilgrims flocked to the site earlier this month to celebrate an important religious holiday, the death of the imam for whom the mosque is named, and extra forces were brought in to beef up security in the city.

Also Monday, police and hospital officials in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah said a teenager died and 47 were wounded during overnight protests.

Around 20 shot

A Sulaimaniyah police official said that around 2 000 people took part in scattered demonstrations around the city, 260km northeast of Baghdad, late on Sunday. Many Kurds are frustrated by the tight grip with which the two ruling parties control the Kurdish autonomous region.

The official said Kurdish security forces opened fire in the air to disperse the crowd.

Hospital officials said around 20 people were shot, including a 17-year-old who later died of his wounds. The others were hit by flying stones.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

The Kurdish region has been spared much of the violence that has consumed the rest of Iraq since the US-led invasion, and the area attracts many foreign businesses looking to make a foothold in the country.

But Kurds have become fed up by the lack of jobs and economic opportunity for people not affiliated with the two main political parties.

Last Thursday, two people were killed and nearly 50 injured in a protest at the Sulaimaniyah headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Since then, demonstrators have thronged the city's streets.

Dave Lindahl

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