BAGHDAD, (AP) – A car bomb exploded outside a Baghdad police station Sunday in the deadliest of a pair of attacks that killed six people in the Iraqi capital, security and hospital officials said.
A suicide attacker drove the bomb-rigged car up to a gate protecting the police post in western Baghdad’s al-Amil neighborhood during an early morning shift change when officers were gathered outside its blast walls.
Four police officers and one civilian were killed, and 15 people were wounded, according to emergency security and hospital officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Attacks around the capital have refused to ebb, presenting Iraq’s police and military forces with a serious challenge as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw. Adding to the sense of instability, Iraq’s political leaders are still wrangling over who will control the next government three months after a parliamentary election.
Iraqi and U.S. officials fear insurgents and other extremist groups are taking advantage of the political stalemate to stage attacks aimed at re-igniting sectarian violence. Most of the attacks have been blamed on a dwindling but determined core of al-Qaeda in Iraq militants or others linked to the terror group.
Police quickly sealed off the blast site at a residential complex, which was littered with rubble. The police station itself was relatively unscathed. Two fire trucks hosed down a burning car.
Ten minutes earlier, a bomb stuck to the underside of a car in Baghdad’s central Allawi al-Hillah area ripped the vehicle apart, killing the driver and wounding three passengers, according to police and hospital officials who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another so-called sticky bomb exploded under the car of Mahmoudiya city council chief Talib al-Massoudi, wounding him and seven others, according to emergency police and hospitals officials. Mahmoudiya is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
It was not immediately known who was behind Sunday’s attacks.