Baghdad: A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least three people, police said, in an apparent attempt to destabilise the Shiite-led government.
The blast in Taji, 20km north of the capital, followed another suicide attack in the same town a day earlier that killed at least 22 people.
It was the eighth suicide bombing in a month in Iraq, where insurgents are seeking to inflame tensions between Shiite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish factions a year after US troops pulled out of the country.
“There were patches of blood, pieces of clothing and shoes scattered around the place,” said policeman Furat Fleh, whose patrol was near the checkpoint at the time of the blast. “We heard shooting and shouting after the explosion”.
Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, a Shiite, has been struggling to quell mass protests by Sunnis against what they see as the marginalisation of their sect since the fall of Saddam Hussain and the empowerment of Iraq’s Shiite majority through the ballot box.
Ten years on from the US-led invasion of Iraq, sectarian and ethnic divisions run deep.
Violence has fallen from the height of inter-communal slaughter that killed tens of thousands in 2006-2007, but insurgents have still been carrying out at least one high-casualty attack a month since the US withdrawal in December 2011.