Suicide bomber kills senior Iraqi army officer

Suicide bomber kills senior Iraqi army officer

MOSUL - Reuters
A senior Iraqi army intelligence officer and two bodyguards were killed on Saturday after suicide bombers attacked his home in a well-protected district of a northern town, police and local government officials said. 

Iraq has seen an increase in bombings since the start of the year as Sunni Islamist insurgents tied to al Qaeda seek to ignite the kind of sectarian violence that pushed the country close to civil war in 2006-2007.

Two bombers attacked the home of Brigadier-General Awni Ali, the director of the defense ministry's intelligence school, in Tal Afar town, just outside Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of the capital, authorities said.

"Guards killed one suicide bomber, but when the brigadier general and his bodyguards went out another bomber ran among them and blew himself up," a local official said.

Political tensions are high in Iraq as thousands of Sunni Muslims in the west of the country hold daily rallies against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, accusing him of marginalising their minority sect.

More than ten suicide attackers have struck security forces, Shi'ite targets and a lawmaker since January. After the last American troops left in December 2011, insurgents have been carrying out at least one major, complex attack a month.