Suicide attacker kills 7 at Baghdad checkpoint

Suicide attacker kills 7 at Baghdad checkpoint

BAGHDAD - The Associated Press
Suicide attacker kills 7 at Baghdad checkpoint

Iraqi security forces gather the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 22. AP photo

A suicide bomber set off a car bomb today at a checkpoint leading to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, killing seven people and injuring 32 others, officials said.

The attack followed a series of bombings last week that killed up to 70 people in a single day, increasing fears about Iraq's future after U.S. troops withdrew this month.

Two police officers said the bomber struck during morning rush hour, hitting one of many security barriers set up around the ministry's building. Five policemen were among the dead, they said.

Two doctors at nearby hospitals confirmed the causality figures. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

No one has claimed responsibility, but suicide attacks are the hallmark of the al-Qaida in Iraq terror group.

U.S. and some Iraqi officials have warned of a resurgence of Sunni and Shiite militants and an increase in violence after the full U.S. troop withdrawal.

Adding to Iraq's troubles is an increase in political tension stemming from a showdown between the Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the top Sunni political leader in the country.

Al-Maliki's government has issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on charges that he ran hit squads against government officials.

Al-Hashemi has denied the charges and said they are politically motivated.