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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Iraq police chief's children held
Medics treat a man injured in a bombing at Dakuk, Iraq, 8/6/07
Worshippers were targeted in an insurgent attack on Dakuk
Gunmen in Iraq have attacked the house of a senior police officer, killing his wife and 13 other people and taking away three of his children.

The attack took place late on Thursday on the house of Col Ali al-Jurani, the head of emergency police in the town of Kanaan, in Diyala province.

Diyala has been the scene of some of the worst violence in Iraq.

Meanwhile two double bombings - one in the south of Iraq and one in the north - killed at least 34 people in total.

Hundreds of people die every month in attacks which have brought Iraq to the brink of civil war.

Millions of people have also been displaced by the spiralling sectarian strife.

Things have not moved as quickly as we would like to see them happen on the political track. And militarily also there are challenges that continue
Zalmay Khalilzad
US ambassador at the UN

"Several armed men attacked my house at 2200 (1800 GMT) and killed 14 people, including my wife, brother and my 12 bodyguards," Col Jurani told AFP news agency.

"The attackers also kidnapped my three children - two boys and a girl," said Col Jurani, who was not at home at the time.

His children are reported to be grown up.

No target

In southern Iraq, at least 16 people, including women and children, died in two car bomb blasts on Friday.

At least another 32 were injured in the attacks, which targeted a busy market and a bus station in the town of Qurna, 60km (35 miles) north of Basra.

The bombs went off in swift succession just as people were starting to crowd into the street market area in the centre of town to sell or buy fresh produce.

Women mourn their relative killed in Qurna
Qurna's market was crowded when the insurgents hit

There was no apparent target, apart from the people themselves.

Later in the day, in the predominantly Shia town of Dakuk in northern Iraq, near Kirkuk, at least 18 people died in a double bombing.

Police said Shia worshippers were leaving al-Thaqalain mosque at around 1400 local time (1000 GMT), when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside and a car bomb exploded outside.

While the latest violence ranged over many parts of the country the common theme is that all the attacks appeared to be the work of Sunni insurgent groups, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad.

The Shia south has largely been spared such indiscriminate attacks, he says.

The fact that insurgents struck there could be a sign that Sunni insurgents are operating further afield because of the security surge in and around Baghdad.

US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad admitted that "militarily... there are challenges that continue, and not only in Baghdad, but also outside Baghdad".

There was a boost for the US-led coalition on Friday, however, as the parliament in Georgia backed an increase in the country's deployment to Iraq, from around 900 troops and personnel to around 2,000.




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