Attackers Strike In Iraqi Cities; 15 Dead

"Attackers targeting security forces in northern Iraq and religious pilgrims in Baghdad left at least 15 people dead and others wounded, police said Tuesday. The attacks occurred in Tikrit, Samarra and Baiji in Salaheddin province, farther north in Mosul and in the nation's capital.

The spurt of violence highlights U.S. and Iraqi worries over the tenacity of insurgents and anxieties that the parliament's political impasse is generating insecurity. In Tikrit, a motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated outside the house of a military commander, Lt. Col. Qais Rashid. Eleven members of Rashid's family were killed, including his father, three of his sisters and a 1-year old child. Four others were wounded. Rashid was not at home at the time.

In another attack in the city, two family members of Lt. Col. Khalid Akdhair, an Iraqi army officer, were wounded in a bombing. Akdhair was not home at the time.

Three police officers were killed and two others were wounded when insurgents planted a bomb at a police checkpoint in Samarra. In Baiji, four people were wounded when attackers threw grenades at the houses of a doctor, a former Iraqi army officer and two members of the Sons of Iraq, the pro-government militia group.

Farther north, in Mosul, gunmen shot and killed a police officer. In Baghdad, 12 Iranians were wounded when sticky bombs targeted two buses carrying Iranian pilgrims.

The distress over the country's violence is reflected in a survey conducted by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.Many Iraqis who have returned to Baghdad after fleeing to neighboring countries have found that ""physical insecurity, economic hardship and a lack of basic public services"" have led the majority of them ""to regret their decision to return to Iraq,"" the survey said Tuesday."