Ten killed in Iraq bombings

BAQUBA: A spate of bombings across Iraq on Tuesday killed 10 people, including two Iraqi soldiers and the leader of a Sunni Arab militia allied with the United States.

Fourteen others were wounded in the attacks in the village of Buhruz, northeast of Baghdad, and the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, security and medical officials said.

In the deadliest incident, a suicide bomber exploded a belt-full of explosives in a coffee shop in Buhruz, 15 kilometres south of Baquba in Diyala province, killing eight people and leaving 10 others injured.

"We received eight bodies, and 10 other people were wounded," Dr Ahmed Alwan of Baquba General Hospital told AFP, adding the casualties were men.

An official in the Baquba operations command, which is the joint military-police security centre for Diyala, confirmed the tolls, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Among the dead was Laith Mishaan, leader of one of many Sunni militias that turned against Al-Qaeda and allied with the United States. That switch was seen as critical to ending the mass sectarian bloodshed that engulfed Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

One of Mishaan's bodyguards was also killed, while another was wounded.

The attack in the predominantly Sunni town follows a bombing there a day earlier that left two sons of the village's mukhtar, or chief, dead and one other injured.

A separate bombing in Buhruz on Monday left three other civilians wounded.

Meanwhile, near ethnically mixed Kirkuk, at the centre of a land dispute between the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan and the central government, two Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb targeting their patrol.

"Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and four others wounded in an explosion targeting an army patrol," said Brigadier General Sarhad Qader, the provincial police chief in charge of security outside Kirkuk city.

The attack occurred in the town of Al-Rashad, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Kirkuk.

Qader added that northwest of Kirkuk, police arrested a suspected leader of an insurgent group operating in the area known as Ansar al-Sunna.

Though attacks in Iraq as a whole have declined dramatically from last year, violence in Mosul and Baghdad remains common.

Violent deaths in Iraq dropped by more than half in September from the previous month, official figures showed last week, with 203 people killed across the country, the lowest monthly toll since May.