January 20, 2010 / 11:46 AM / 10 years ago

Bomber strikes Iraqi army HQ in Mosul, wounds 45

(Updates wounded toll, adds background)

MOSUL, Iraq, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew up a sport utility vehicle in an Iraqi army headquarters in the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday, wounding 45 people, police said.

The powerful blast did extensive damage to the army post, located near a police station, and to at least 10 nearby houses in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Eighteen soldiers, five police officers and 22 civilians were wounded in the attack, police said.

While overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply following years of sectarian warfare that killed tens of thousands of people, bombings and assassinations still occur daily.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have said they expect attacks to rise before parliamentary elections scheduled for March 7.

Mosul, one of Iraq’s most diverse and dangerous cities, has been the site of frequent attacks in recent months, including a drive-by shooting and at least three roadside bombings targeting army patrols, police and civilians in the last two weeks.

Police said two insurgents were killed in Mosul while trying to launch a mortar round 10 days ago, and U.S. forces said four men were killed after attacking a patrol that came upon them digging a hole for a roadside bomb on Jan. 8.

Several attacks in Mosul late last year targeted Christian churches. (Reporting by Jamal al-Badrani; writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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