7 killed in separate attacks across Iraq

By HAMID AHMED | June 6, 2011 | 4:12 AM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide bomber in the northern city of Tikrit and gunmen in the Iraqi capital killed a total of seven people Monday morning, Iraqi officials said.

Iraqi security officials said four people died after gunmen in speeding vehicles opened fire on two security checkpoints in Baghdad. The incidents happened early Monday morning in the mostly Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, said a military and a medical official.

At one checkpoint, an Iraqi army soldier was killed when gunmen using weapons affixed with silencers opened fire. At about the same time, gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint manned by members of an anti-al-Qaida militia. Three militia members were killed in that incident, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

And in Saddam Hussein's hometown, the northern city of Tikrit, three people died when a bomb went off outside a checkpoint going into a government compound.

A media adviser to the provincial governor, Mohammed al-Asi, said 15 people were also injured in the incident. The top medical official for Salahuddin province, Dr. Raied Ibrahim, confirmed the death toll.

Ibrahim said an Iraqi army colonel was killed in the explosion. A military official in the Salahuddin Operations Command, which oversees security operations in the province, said the colonel was driving into the government compound in a convoy when a suicide bomber driving a vehicle blew himself up near the convoy.

The compound in Tikrit is a collection of palaces and buildings built under Saddam that now serves as a hub for government offices. It has been nicknamed the Tikrit "Green Zone" after the fortified area in central Baghdad that houses many government buildings and embassies.

Bombers often target such entrances and exits to government compounds or buildings, especially during the morning when officials are going to work and cars are often lined up at the entrance.

Monday morning's attack is the second time in recent days that Tikrit has come under siege.

On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque inside the government compound, killing 16 people. The mosque is frequented by people living inside the compound so many of those killed or injured were government or security employees. Hours later, another suicide bomber walked into the Tikrit hospital and blew himself up near the emergency room, where family members had gathered. Five people were killed and 16 were injured in that incident.


Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed to this report.