[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 13:04 GMT
Attacks near Baquba leave 12 dead
A US airman unloads a wounded Iraqi soldier from a helicopter
Iraqi forces have often been the target of attacks by insurgents
Twelve Iraqis have been killed and 25 wounded in two separate attacks by insurgents near the city of Baquba.

Eight Iraqi soldiers were killed and 17 wounded when rocket-propelled grenades were fired at their checkpoint on the main Baghdad-Kirkuk road at Adhaim.

In a separate incident, four people were killed and eight wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque in Balad Ruz.

Baquba and the area around the city have often been the scene of violence.

At least 19 Iraqi soldiers were killed in an ambush in Adhaim at the beginning of the month.

Also on Friday, two US soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle while they were on patrol in the capital Baghdad.

'Five more years'

The attacks came shortly after the UK's former envoy to Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said Iraq's insurgency could continue for five more years.

Map of Iraq

"I think [the insurgency] has got at least five years of life, because there are men and there are materials," he told Sky News.

"There's motivation there from the Sunni insurgents, the left over Baathists, the Saddamists and... the al-Qaida franchise."

But Sir Jeremy suggested that half the 160,000-plus multi-national troops serving in Iraq could be withdrawn by the end of 2006 if things went well.

If the situation does not improve, he told the BBC, the total withdrawal "may be some way away".


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific