Last updated: 29 December, 2013

3 top officers among 4 dead in Iraq suicide bombing

Attacks in Iraq mainly targeting members of the security forces killed at least 16 people on Sunday, among them three senior army officers, security and medical officials said.

The attacks come as Iraq suffers its worst violence since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian tit-for-tat killings.

In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near a military convoy, killing four soldiers, among them a brigadier general, a colonel and a lieutenant colonel.

The blast also wounded 10 people, including six soldiers.

Earlier on Sunday, a car bomb exploded near an army checkpoint in Mosul, killing four more soldiers, among them an officer, while a roadside bomb in the city killed a child and wounded three people.

The attacks on the soldiers come after five senior officers, including a divisional commander, and 10 other soldiers were killed during a December 21 operation against militants in the western province of Anbar.

In Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, gunmen killed at least four Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militiamen and wounded at least three at a checkpoint on Sunday.

The Sahwa are made up of fighters who joined forces with the United States against jihadists from late 2006, helping to bring about a significant reduction in violence.

They are frequently targeted by Sunni Muslim militants, who consider them traitors.

And in Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded in the Jihad area, killing at least two people and wounding six, while another roadside bomb near the city of Baquba, north of the capital, killed one person and wounded four.

More than 6,750 have been killed in violence since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Analysts say widespread discontent among Sunni Arabs, who say they face discrimination at the hands of the Shiite-led government, is a major factor in the heightened violence.

On Saturday, security forces raided the home of Sunni Arab MP Ahmed al-Alwani, who backs anti-government protesters, arresting him and sparking clashes that killed his brother and five guards.

The raid may further inflame widespread discontent among Sunni Arabs, and could compound the rampant violence plaguing the country.