Iraq suicide bomb attack kills five

Image caption,
Baghdad has been hit by a spate of attacks this week

A suicide bomber has blown up a car at an army check point in Baghdad killing at least five people, officials say.

Three soldiers were among those killed in the attack in western Baghdad's mainly Sunni Ghazaliya district, once an insurgent stronghold.

The bombing comes after three days of attacks on Shia pilgrims in Baghdad killed almost 60 people.

Violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq, but sporadic attacks continue on an almost daily basis.

Of those killed in recent days, 35 people died on Wednesday when a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-filled belt struck pilgrims in Adhamiya, a Sunni district across the Tigris river from Kadhimiya, in the north of the capital.

Eleven others were killed in bomb attacks elsewhere in the capital.

Five bombings in the Iraqi capital on Thursday killed another 11 people and brought the number of wounded to more than 400 since Tuesday, officials said.

Injuries rise

In its latest report released on Thursday, the UN said 4,068 civilians were killed and 15,935 injured in violence in 2009, according to information provided by Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights.

"This represents an overall decrease in comparison to 2008. However, the second half of 2009 saw a large increase in the number of injured civilians when compared to the first half," it said.

Iraqi forces took over control of security in Iraq's towns and cities from the US military one year ago.

The US is speeding up the pace of its withdrawal, aiming to reduce its presence to 50,000 non-combat troops by the end of next month, in preparation for a full military departure by 2012.

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