At least seven people were killed and 15 injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-filled vehicle on Monday in the central Iraqi city of Tikrit, the latest attack in three days in the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein, officials said.
The blast occurred at the
entrance to a complex of palaces in the Sunni-dominated city 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, which had previously been used by Saddam. Many of the victims were security personnel, police said.
"It was a suicide car bomb that blew up at the main gate while a process of handing over checkpoints from the police to the army was taking place," Hassan Abdulla, media advisor to the head of the local provincial council, told Reuters.
Abdulla said those killed included several military officers, among them a colonel who was the head of military intelligence in Tikrit.
On Friday, at least 21 people were killed and more than 70 injured in two apparently coordinated bomb attacks in Tikrit.
Although overall levels of violence have fallen since the peak of Iraq's 2006-2007 sectarian conflict following the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam, attacks on local police and military personnel have increased as the end-year deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from the country approaches.
Tikrit is dominated by Sunni Muslims, a minority in Iraq who were favoured under Saddam. Suspected Sunni Islamists, including al Qaeda, have carried out frequent attacks in the town and surrounding Salahuddin province, trying to destabilise the Baghdad government and stir up sectarian tension.