BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least one person was killed and 14 others wounded on Saturday when a sticky bomb exploded near a vegetable market in Iraq’s mainly Sunni Salahuddin province, local security and hospital sources said.
The explosion occurred in the town of Baiji, home to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, the sources said.
A source in the Salahuddin operations command said the bomb had been attached to a vegetable cart belonging to a police officer who worked at the market when he was off duty.
Tensions within Iraq’s fragile coalition government of Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds have been mounting since U.S. troops withdrew in December, raising fears of a return to the bloody sectarian violence that almost drove the country to the brink of civil war a few years ago.
Earlier on Saturday, two police officers were killed when a roadside bomb targeting their patrol blew up on the outskirts of Ramadi in the Sunni heartland Anbar province, police said.
In Mosul in the north, two gunmen were killed after exchanging fire with Iraqi army forces, while one civilian was seriously wounded in a separate incident in Mosul when armed men opened fire in front of his house, police sources said.
Bombings and killings remain a daily occurrence in Iraq though overall levels of violence have dropped from the height of sectarian fighting in 2006-7.
On Friday, seven Shi’ite pilgrims were killed by armed men while bombings targeting Shi’ite families killed five people on Wednesday.
Reporting by Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit, Fadhil al-Badrani in Falluja and Jamal al-Badrani in Mosul; Writing by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Andrew Osborn