Middle East

Iraq unrest: Shooting and bombs hit security forces

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Media captionAftermath of the car bomb attack in Hilla

Bomb attacks have left at least 17 people dead and dozens wounded in Iraq, while gunmen have killed two policemen at a Baghdad checkpoint, officials say.

A car bomb detonated at about 08:00 (05:00 GMT) close to a restaurant used by security forces near the central city of Hilla, killing at least 15.

And a bomb attached to a military bus inside a base in Habaniya, west of the capital, killed at least two personnel.

There has been a spate of attacks on Iraqi police and armed forces recently.

Interior and defence ministry figures suggest 45 police and 39 soldiers were killed during August, according to Reuters news agency.

At least two of those killed in the blast near Hilla - 100km (60 miles) south of Baghdad - were policemen, according to health and local government officials.

Gunmen 'escaped'

Four more officers were among about 40 people wounded in the attack, AP news agency reports.

The Habaniya bomb, which struck as personnel were being transported within the base, also detonated at about 08:00 local time.

Officials said those responsible for the earlier checkpoint attack, in a northern neighbourhood of Baghdad, escaped after killing two officers and wounding a third.

During one day last month, a car bomb detonated as an Iraqi army convoy passed - killing one passer-by and wounding 17 others - while two bomb attacks in Falluja, west of Baghdad, killed several police and army officials.

Although violence has dropped from its peak in 2006 and 2007, the attacks have prompted concerns about the US completing its withdrawal of troops from the country in December.