Last updated: 12 April, 2012

Five dead in north Iraq ambush

Gunmen ambushed a police patrol in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing two policemen and three civilians, while a bomb in central Iraq killed an eight-year-old girl, security officials said.

Gunmen ambushed the police patrol about 40 kilometres (24 miles) south of the northern city of Kirkuk, killing two policemen and three civilians and wounding three policemen and three civilians, police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader said.

They fired Kalashnikov assault rifles and PK machineguns from three cars, Qader said, adding that they battled police for about 30 minutes before managing to flee.

The Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna militant groups are active in the area, Qader said.

Ethnically divided and oil-rich Kirkuk province lies at the centre of a tract of territory Kurdish leaders want to incorporate into their autonomous region despite the opposition of many of the province’s Arab and Turkmen residents, and of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In Diwaniyah in central Iraq, attackers threw dynamite at a religious institution linked to the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, a Shiite political movement, “killing an eight-year-old girl,” the head of the provincial council’s security committee, Karim Zaghir, told AFP.

“The explosion damaged the building,” Zaghir said. “Security forces surrounded the location of the incident and prevented anyone from getting near it.”

Violence in Iraq has fallen sharply from a peak of 2006 and 2007, but attacks still continue across the country. In March 112 Iraqis were killed in violence.