[QODLink]
Middle East

Suicide blast kills Iraq intelligence officer

Attack in northern town of Tal Afar kills intelligence official and three of his bodyguards, police say.
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2013 05:13
Tensions are high in Iraq as thousands of Sunni Muslims hold daily rallies against the Shia-led government [AP]

A suicide bombers in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar has killed a senior Iraqi army intelligence officer, along with three of his bodyguards, police officials say.

The bomber detonated his explosives at the officer's home in the town, located about 60km west of Mosul, police said on Saturday.

In a separate attack, a senior judge was also killed by a sticky bomb just north of the capital Baghdad, according to Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf.  

Police officials said that the first attack occurred when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt near Brigadier General Ali Aouni's car as he was leaving his house in Tal Afar. Aouni was the head of the intelligence academy in the Iraqi defence ministry.

"Guards killed one suicide bomber, but when the brigadier general and his bodyguards went out another bomber ran among them and blew himself up," a local official said.

Arraf said it was not immediately clear whether Aouni was the intended target of the suicide bombers.  

"This is significant because it is Tal Afar, which is in between Mosul, quiet a volatile city, and the Syrian border," Arraf said.    

Iraq has seen an increase in attacks in recent weeks, with January the deadliest month since September, according to a tally kept by the AFP news agency. Levels of violence, however, remain markedly lower than during the peak of hostilities in 2006 and 2007.

Political tensions are high in Iraq as thousands of Sunni Muslims in the west of the country hold daily rallies against
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, accusing him of marginalising their minority sect.

More than ten suicide attackers have struck security forces, Shia targets and a lawmaker since January. After the last
US troops left in December 2011, anti-state fighters have been carrying out at least one major, complex attack a month.

In 2012, more than 4,400 people were killed, the first annual climb in Iraq's death toll in three years.

Sunni unrest and renewed violence are worsening fears the war in neighbouring Syria, where Sunni rebels are battling President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Shia Iran - could undermine Iraq's delicate sectarian and ethnic balance.

359

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.