Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Seven killed by suicide truck bomber in western Iraq

Iraq map

Seven people have died as a suicide bomber blew up a truck near a police station in western Iraq, security officials say.

At least two police officers were among the dead, while another six people were injured in the blast in Saqlawiya in Anbar province, officials said.

The bombing comes a week after attacks targeting police killed eight people in the town of Hit in the same province.

The area has in the past been a stronghold of Sunni insurgents.

The bomber blew up a water tanker near the gates of the police station, Mohammad Jassim, a police spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

Militants targeted

A young girl was among the injured, AFP news agency reported.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on officials active in the drive to expel militant groups from Anbar province.

Last Thursday, seven people died in four explosions, which appeared to have been caused by bombs planted at the houses of prominent policemen.

One of the main targets seems to have been Maj Walid Suleiman, a senior figure in the drive against insurgent groups in the area.

Pre-election violence

A week before that, twin suicide blasts in the provincial capital Ramadi killed 25 people and severely injured regional governor Qassim Mohammed.

Violence has been rising as Iraq prepares for a March general election.

Until two years ago, the Sunni insurgency was strong in Anbar province.

But local Sunni tribes and their followers then turned against the militants, and began co-operating with the Iraqi government and US forces against them.

After a period of relative calm, the province is against suffering from mounting violence.

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