At Least 15 Killed In Third Straight Day Of Suicide Attacks In Iraq

"(Washingtonpost)

Suicide bombers struck in Iraq for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people in two attacks in Diyala province and raising fears of a renewed insurgent campaign targeting Iraqi security forces and government officials. In the deadliest incident, a suicide bomber drove an ambulance packed with explosives into a police training center in the provincial capital, Baqubah, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. At least 13 people were killed and 70 injured in the mid-morning attack, many of them trainees with the Facilities Protection Service, which guards state institutions and government dignitaries, according to Lt. Col. Ghalib Attiyah, police spokesman for Diyala province.

In the second attack, Attiyah said, a man wearing an explosives vest blew himself up near the convoy of a top provincial official during a gathering of Shiite pilgrims in the Khalis district, north of Baqubah. The blast killed two and injured 15, including the official, Sadiq al-Hussaini, the deputy chairman of Diyala's provincial council.

It was not immediately clear whether the bomber was targeting the official or the pilgrims, who are frequently attacked by Sunni extremists. Attacks on pilgrims are expected to escalate in the coming days as people set out to participate in commemorations for the Shiite religious holiday of Arbaeen next week.

Wednesday's blasts came a day after a suicide attacker killed 60 people as they lined up to join the police force in Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, shattering more than two months of relative calm with the first major bombing since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki formed a new government last month. "