May 12, 2009 / 7:27 AM / 10 years ago

Suicide car bomber kills 5 police in north Iraq

(Adds details, background)

KIRKUK, Iraq, May 12 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into an Iraqi police patrol in central Kirkuk on Tuesday, killing five policemen and wounding 11 other people, police said.

They said the death toll was likely to rise. Kirkuk, which lies 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, is hotly disputed between Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen and the city still harbours al Qaeda militants in its Arab quarter.

Violence across Iraq rose slightly in April and militants have shown themselves still capable of carrying out frequent, large-scale bomb attacks.

Last Wednesday, a truck bomb in a vegetable market in southern Baghdad killed 10 people and wounded 37.

A spike in major bombings in the past few weeks has raised doubts about security gains as U.S. combat troops prepare to withdraw from Iraqi cities next month and Iraq gears up for national elections by early next year. (Reporting by Mustafa Mahmoud; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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