Suicide Bomber Kills 13 at Iraqi Police Post

By Megan Greenwell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2007

BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 -- A suicide car bomber drove into a police station north of Baghdad on Thursday and detonated his explosives, killing 13 people, police said.

The attack in Hibhib, just north of Baghdad in Diyala province, took place as police recruits were lined up outside the station, according to Diyala police Lt. Muhammad Hakman. Hakman said police arrested a man acting suspiciously near the station just before the bomb detonated. The man is suspected to have aided the bomber, he said.

Hibhib, a small town with a largely Sunni population, is where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by an American airstrike last year, and Hakman said he believes Thursday's attack was the work of that group. The number of insurgents in the town linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq has risen recently as military operations in Baqubah, Baghdad and western Anbar province pushed them out of those areas, Hakman said.

News of the attack came shortly after the U.S. military announced that the Iraqi army had killed a man in the northern city of Mosul on Thursday who was suspected of leading al-Qaeda in Iraq there.

The military said an Iraqi army convoy had spotted the man, identified only as Safi, as he rode in a pickup truck. Soldiers attempted to pull the vehicle over. The man's bodyguards opened fire on the soldiers, who shot back, killing the bodyguards and Safi.

On Thursday night, police said, mortar shells hit the Baghdad offices of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the country's largest Sunni political group. The attack came a day after the group announced it would withdraw five of its six ministers from the government in protest against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's policies. In a public statement Thursday, Maliki formally asked the Accordance Front to reconsider its decision.

Meanwhile, police in the northern city of Kirkuk announced that they had found a young boy crying next to the corpses of his five adult brothers. The five were apparently killed in sectarian violence after they and the boy were abducted Wednesday as they drove south out of the city, police said.

News that a child had apparently been present during the killings created nationwide outrage. Newscasters on Arabic-language television stations spoke at length about the incident, and several prominent politicians and religious leaders condemned the kidnappers.

The U.S. military said two U.S. troops were killed Tuesday in Baghdad by indirect fire, a term that usually means a rocket or mortar attack. The announcement raises the number of U.S. troops killed in July to 80, one fewer than in March. U.S. death tolls exceeded 100 in April, May and June.

Special correspondent Naseer Nouri contributed to this report.

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