Car bomb attack on government complex in Iraq kills 13

By Saad Abdul-Kadir
Associated Press / February 19, 2010

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BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomb exploded yesterday outside the gate of the main government compound in the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, killing at least 13 people, including four police officers, a health official said.

The attacker detonated his explosive-packed car at the compound that houses the governor’s office, police headquarters, and courts in downtown Ramadi.

The province, where Sunni insurgents backed by Al Qaeda once held sway, has seen a rise in attacks against security forces and government officials in recent months. Analysts worry that next month’s elections will further stoke political violence.

The blast also wounded at least 26 people, said Dr. Khudhair Khalaf, the director of the provincial health authority.

Debris from the car bomb could be seen strewn on the bloodstained pavement in front of the compound, along with slippers and a red-checkered traditional tribal headdress. The force of the explosion damaged two civilian cars and a police vehicle and shattered the windows of a nearby restaurant.

Anbar was the site of some of the war’s most intense fighting between US forces and insurgents in the key cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, though the province is more peaceful now.

Despite an overall decline in violence, insurgents regularly attack security forces and government officials.

In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, 22 people were wounded yesterday when a parked-car bomb exploded near an Iraqi police convoy, a police official said.

Also yesterday, Iraqi security officials said they have arrested eight people for allegedly ripping down campaign posters that are plastered across Baghdad. They face up to a year in jail under an elections law being enforced for the first time since 2003.