Middle East

Many dead in attacks on Iraqi security forces

Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk
Image caption A group of police recruits were targeted at a compound several kilometres outside Kirkuk

Dozens of people have been killed in a wave of at least 11 attacks in Iraq, some targeting the security forces.

In the deadliest single incident, 11 soldiers died in a shooting and bombing attack on an army base near Baghdad.

Two car bombs killed a total of at least 14 people and wounded than 60 near the south-eastern city of Amara, according to local officials.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda have been blamed for much of the recent violence in Iraq.

The army base, in the Balad district north of Baghdad, was initially attacked by armed insurgents, who then detonated a number of improvised explosive devices at the base.

A bomb near the northern city of Kirkuk killed seven police who were applying for jobs with the state-run Northern Oil Company, according to police spokesmen.

Sectarian tensions

Reports suggested there had been a total of at least 11 attacks across the country, killing at least 45 people and injuring scores more.

In another of the incidents, a bomb also exploded near the French consulate in the city of Nasiriya to the south of Baghdad, with two casualties reported.

The latest violence comes only days after eight people were killed on attacks on Shia Muslim places of worship in Kirkuk.

Meanwhile a court on Sunday has passed a death sentence on Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has been tried in absentia and convicted of running death squads.

A leading Sunni politician, Mr Hashemi fled Iraq in December after the Shia-dominated government tried to arrest him.

Although violence has decreased since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks have escalated again after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq at the end of last year, and amid increasing political and sectarian tensions.