RAMADI, Iraq (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers attacked a police station in western Iraq on Thursday, killing at least five policemen, police sources said.
The first bomber opened fire on a checkpoint as he approached the police station, shooting two dead before entering the building and blowing himself up, killing a further three.
The second assailant drove a car packed with explosives into the same police station in the city of Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of the capital, in Iraq’s Sunni heartland.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attacks, but suicide bombings are the trademark of al Qaeda’s Iraqi wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, which security experts say has been gaining strength and recruits.
Militant attacks have increased since the start of the year, reflecting worsening tensions between the government and Iraq’s Sunni minority, which resents Shi‘ite domination since the U.S.-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Security forces and their families are prime targets for Sunni insurgent groups including the Islamic State of Iraq, which seek to destabilize the government and provoke wider confrontation.
Earlier on Thursday, at least one person was killed and 28 wounded when a parked car bomb exploded near the courthouse in central Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police and medics said.
The number of people killed in militant attacks across Iraq in June was more than 1,000, according to the United Nations.
Violence is still well below the levels seen during the sectarian bloodletting of 2006-07, when the monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.
Reporting by Kamal Naama, Ghazwan Hassan and Mustafa Mahmoud; Writing by Suadad al-Salhy, Editing by Gareth Jones