Suicide bomber kills senior Iraqi army officer and at least two of his guards

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A suicide bomber killed a senior Iraqi army intelligence officer and at least two of his bodyguards on Saturday when he detonated his explosives at the officer's home in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

Brigadier General Aouni Ali, the director of the Defense Ministry's intelligence school, and two of his guards were killed in the bomb blast at Tal Afar, near Mosul, police and a doctor said.

One bomber was shot outside Ali’s home in the northern town of Tal Afar. But a second attacker managed to detonate his explosives.

“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.

Tal Afar is near the Syrian border, about 420 km (260 miles) north of Baghdad and just west of the volatile northern city of Mosul. The town has a large Shi'ite Muslim population in a volatile province that is home to many Sunni Arabs as well as Christians, ethnic Kurds and Turkmen.

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

Last week, mortar attacks on an exile camp housing Iranian dissidents near Baghdad let to a number of deaths and injuries, an Iraqi security official and a United Nations spokeswoman said.

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