Iraqi police: Suicide blasts in Baqouba kill 6

BAGHDAD: Three suicide bombings killed six and wounded 20 people in the city of Baqouba on Wednesday, police said, just days before Iraqis head to the polls in key parliamentary elections.

Police spokesman Capt. Ghalib al-Karkhi in the capital of the volatile Diyala province said the blasts struck in quick succession in Baqouba, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.

First, a car bomb targeted a local government housing office next to an Iraqi Army facility. Within minutes, another suicide bomber driving a vehicle struck the headquarters of the provincial council.

A third suicide bomber, wearing an explosive vest, walked into the city's emergency hospital as rescuers and victims from the first two blasts were being rushed in for treatment.

Insurgents often spread out bomb attacks, as a way to maximize damage as rescuers and others rush to the scene to help or the hospital for treatment.

The bombing comes as the country is on high alert for any insurgent attack ahead of the March 7 elections that will decide who will oversee the country as U.S. forces go home and help determine whether Iraq can overcome the deep sectarian tensions that have divided the country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned repeatedly that insurgents were expected to launch attacks in an attempt to disrupt the crucial vote.

Baqouba is a mixed Shiite-Sunni city and Diyala's provincial capital. Both the city and the province were flashpoints of the insurgency, although they have quieted since the height of attacks in 2006 and 2007.