Iraqi security establishment has constantly been the target of attacks by anti-government forces [Reuters]

A suicide bomber has blown up his car outside an Iraqi army battalion headquarters in the country's east, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 30 people.

Samira al-Shibli, Diyala provincial council spokeswoman, said on Monday that emergency workers were still frantically trying to rescue victims from beneath the rubble.

"The sound of the blast was heard in all of the city of Baqouba," she said.

Al-Shibli said a second bomb was discovered nearby but diffused by officials before it could explode. She said the first blast may have been from a bomb in a parked car.

"I can see a big hole in the ground and three damaged buildings," a witness said.

Faris al-Azawi, Diyala health directorate spokesman, said the bomber drove his car past a security gate and detonated his explosives right outside the headquarters of an army intelligence battalion in Kanaan, east of the provincial capital of Baqouba.

An army commander in Diyala described a horrific scene of the building collapsing on soldiers inside.

Diyala province is where al-Qaeda and other Sunni gunmen still battle Iraqi security forces. A volatile mix of minority Kurds, majority Shias and Sunnis have made it difficult to bring peace there.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official in Baghdad blamed the attack on al-Qaeda and said authorities believe the same cell of insurgents may also be plotting a similar strike against security forces in the capital.

In January, the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaeda front group, claimed responsibility for two bombings at security force headquarters in Baqouba that together killed 10 people.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies