|At least seven people were killed in a car bomb attack outside the provincial government offices in Ramadi [Reuters]|
A car bomb and a suicide blast aimed at government offices in the western Iraqi province of Ramadi have killed seven people, four of them police, and wounded more than 50 others.
Police said that Monday’s attack in the city of Ramadi, 100km west of Baghdad, marked the third time this year the provincial offices have been attacked and came a day after a new police chief for the province took up his post.
“A car bomb exploded near the Anbar provincial government offices around 9:30 am (0630 GMT) followed about 15 minutes later by a suicide bombing,” Rahim Zabin, a police spokesman, said.
“Seven people were killed, including four police, and 51 were injured, among them women and children.”
An official of the local morgue said it had received seven bodies while the provincial hospital confirmed the injury figures.
The bombings mark the first major attack since Nouri al-Maliki was confirmed for a second term as prime minister in office on December 21 and his new government, in which he retains Iraq’s three security portfolios, received parliament’s stamp of approval.
Al-Maliki has assumed interim control of the defence, interior and national security ministries. These posts will be responsible for assuring security after the planned pullout by end 2011 of the roughly 50,000 US troops left in Iraq.
The Ramadi attacks also mark a baptism of fire for Anbar’s new police chief, Brigadier General Abdel-Hadi Rzeiq, who took up the post on Sunday.
His predecessor, Major-General Baha al-Qaissi, was replaced in the wake of a suicide car bombing outside the same provincial offices in Ramadi on December 12.