Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 11:51 UK

North Iraq bomb kills policemen

amirli map

A roadside bomb has killed a police chief and at least four of his colleagues in a northern Iraqi town.

The attack happened in Amirli, home to a sizeable Shia population in an area with an Arab and Kurdish Sunni majority south of the regional oil hub, Kirkuk.

The dead police chief was named as Maj Zaid Hussein Khalaf.

Amirli was the scene of one of the deadliest attacks in the bloody summer of 2007. A truck bombing in the market area killed more than 105 people.

Reports say Tuesday's blast occurred at 0800 as a convoy carrying the police chief was driving past.

The town of about 25,000 people lies 165km (100 miles) north of Baghdad. The population are mostly Shias from Iraq's ethnic Turkoman minority.

Medical attack

A roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad has also killed a health ministry employee and wounded at least four others, police said.

The attack appeared to target a senior medical official whose convoy it was. He escaped unhurt.

Police did not suggest a motive for the attack. In past years, insurgents have targeted medical staff in numerous kidnappings and assassinations.

On Monday, at least 14 people died in bomb attacks in cities across Iraq.

The country has seen an increase in violence since the Iraqi police and army took full responsibility from the US-led coalition for security in urban areas in July.

However, casualty figures are still well below the worst levels of 2006 and 2007, when more than 2,000 Iraqi civilians were being killed in civil strife and by anti-US insurgents every month.

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