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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Assault on Iraqi army checkpoint
A doctor checks the wounds of an Iraqi soldier at the emergency room of a local hospital in the city of Baquba
The injured were brought to hospital in the nearby city of Baquba
Gunmen have attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing at least nine soldiers.

At least three people were injured in the half-hour gunbattle that ensued, including a civilian, according to an Iraqi military spokesman.

The attack happened at dawn in the town of Khalis, near Baquba, 65km (40 miles) north-east of the capital.

There has been an upsurge in attacks since the Iraqi government was sworn in May, with security forces often hit.

The raid on the checkpoint began shortly after dawn and lasted more than 30 minutes, with gunmen using assault rifles, mortars and machine guns during the attack.

Map
As reinforcements were sent to the scene a car bomb exploded causing casualties among both soldiers and civilians.

The BBC's Joe Floto in Baghdad says this kind of infantry-style assault by insurgents is uncommon, but it demonstrates their ability to gather in armed units and mount coordinated and relatively well resourced attacks.

Last month a suicide bomber in army uniform killed more than 20 soldiers in a canteen at an army base in Khalis.

Recruits

In Baghdad, relatives have buried a mother and eight of her children who were killed in their beds in the Baladiyat area on Sunday.

Shia father weeps over bodies of his children and wife
A Baghdad Shia family lost nine members in a vicious shooting
Neighbours said the victims - Shias, the youngest of whom was two years old - had all been shot in the head. The father, who slept outside the house that night, said he believed the attack had sectarian motives.

In other violence on Sunday, a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people who were queuing outside an army recruiting centre in Baghdad.

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Baghdad says the recruitment office has been attacked seven times before, but potential recruits still have to queue outside the building - making them an easy target.

It is a testament to the desperation of Iraqi people to find work that they are still prepared to take the risk of trying to join the security forces, he says.

At least six people were killed in further suicide bombs in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.




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