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Bomb under bed kills local Iraqi police chief

NASSIRIYA, Iraq, May 19 (Reuters) - A local Iraqi police chief was killed on Monday when a bomb placed under his bed in the local police headquarters exploded as he slept, police said.

Major Farhan al-Saeedi was head of a police unit in the southern town of Suq al-Shiyukh.

The town, 400 km (250 miles) southeast of Baghdad, was the scene of clashes last month between government forces and militiamen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in which 22 people were killed.

A week ago, a bomb hidden in an air conditioning unit at the main police station in nearby Nassiriya wounded two policemen. Several police officers have since been arrested.

Iraq's police are widely seen as being infiltrated by Shi'ite militiamen, who have sometimes used the cover of their uniforms to mount attacks.

Police carried out raids on Monday in Basra, southern Iraq's largest city, after gunmen killed two policemen in a drive-by shooting on a police patrol on Sunday.

Iraqi forces wrested control of Basra from the grip of Shi'ite militias in March, but only in the face of stiff resistance from Sadr's Mehdi Army, during which around 1,000 soldiers deserted. (Reporting by Haider al-Nasrallah; Writing by Adrian Croft; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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