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Five killed in central Iraq violence

world Updated: Sep 13, 2010 15:50 IST

Bomb attacks and firefights on Sunday in the restive central Iraqi province of Diyala killed five people, including two soldiers and a policeman, security officials said.

One Iraqi soldier and a policeman were killed in a gunfight with insurgents in the agricultural village of Al-Hudaid, according to Major Mohammed al-Karkhi, spokesman for police in Diyala, north of Baghdad.

Three insurgents were also killed and 10 people wounded in the shooting, which began last night as armed groups sought to take control of Al-Hudaid, west of the provincial capital Baquba.

Defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said yesterday that security forces had arrested 12 insurgents in the same village that day.

In the centre of Baquba, meanwhile, two civilians were killed and a young child was wounded when a magnetic so-called "sticky bomb" was attached to a minibus that they were in, a police official said.

And an army captain was killed and three of his family wounded when a roadside bomb detonated in front of his home in the town of Buhruz, south of Baquba, Karkhi said.

Confessionally-mixed Diyala remains one of Iraq's most violent provinces, even as attacks nationwide have dropped from their 2006 and 2007 peak, when the country was embroiled in a brutal sectarian war that killed tens of thousands.

Violence appears to have spiked in recent months, however, with July and August recording two of the highest death tolls since 2008, according to Iraqi figures.