BAIJI, Iraq (Reuters) - Three people were killed, including a senior police officer, and 13 wounded on Tuesday when a car bomb went off as a police patrol was passing in a town north of Baghdad, Iraqi police said.
Police said the explosion occurred in the center of Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad.
“Among those killed was Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Ahmed Hussein, the head of the intelligence department of the police of Baiji, and a tribal leader,” a police source in Baiji said, asking not to be identified.
“Some other policemen were injured in the blast.”
After the blast, police arrested at least 20 people who were in the area at the time.
Overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the height of sectarian carnage of 2006-07, but bombings and killings continue daily.
Tensions have been heightened since an election in March that produced no outright winner and as yet no new government.
The number of civilians killed in violence each month has risen slightly but steadily since the election, indicating that suspected insurgents are trying to exploit the vacuum as political factions jostle for power.
In the past month, a local affiliate of al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for high-profile suicide bomb assaults on Iraq’s central bank and the Trade Bank of Iraq.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, a brigadier general of the Iraqi army was killed by a roadside bomb in the Kadhamiya district of northern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.
Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee; Writing by Waleed Ibrahim; Editing by Michael Christie