Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Falluja car bomb blast 'kills 13'

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Thirteen people have been killed in a car bomb attack targeting a police patrol near the western Iraqi city of Falluja, police have said.

A spokesman said the police patrol was returning to its base in the town of al-Karmah when the attack happened.

The area is a former stronghold of Sunni insurgents, and the attack comes a week before provincial elections.

Sunni Arabs mostly boycotted the election four years ago but will take part in the forthcoming poll.

December violence

The dead in Saturday's bomb attack included several police officers, police and hospital sources said.

In December two bomb attacks in Falluja killed 19 police officers.

Falluja, 40 miles (64km) west of Baghdad, is largely sealed off by checkpoints. It has been relatively peaceful in recent months although attacks have continued.

The city was the scene of heavy fighting four years ago but the violence abated after the US military and local tribes started co-operating in 2006.

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