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Terrorism & Security

Iraq police and hospital attacked in triple suicide bombing ahead of Sunday election

A triple suicide bombing attacked Iraq police and a hospital killing at least 30 and wounding 40, defying heightened security and stoking sectarian fears ahead of the Iraq election scheduled for Sunday.

By Liam StackCorrespondent / March 3, 2010

Security forces inspect the scene of one of three suicide bombings in Baqouba, Iraq, Wednesday.

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A triple suicide bombing in the city of Baquba in Iraq’s Diyala province killed dozens on Wednesday morning in the run-up to Sunday’s Iraq election. It was the largest attack in a rising tide of violence that has challenged efforts by Iraqi security forces to maintain calm for the March 7 vote, only the country’s second such contest since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The number of casualties from the attack continued to climb throughout the morning, with international media reporting at least 30 dead and dozens wounded. The New York Times reports that 15 of the victims are members of the security forces.

Al Jazeera reports that the three-pronged attack struck at carefully chosen points around the city, the capital of Diyala, about 35 miles northeast of Baghad. One attacker drove a car full of explosives into the headquarters of a police rapid reaction force, while a second set off a car bomb at a police checkpoint near a main provincial building. That second blast appeared to target the office of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari's political party, according to The Washington Post. Jafari, a Shiite, is a candidate in the election.

A third attacker struck shortly after the first two blasts, says the BBC, targeting a city hospital where victims had been taken for treatment. Reuters reports that the third attacker was wearing a police uniform and entered the hospital on foot before blowing himself up.

Sunday’s vote is an important test for Iraq, says Reuters, as American forces prepare for the end of combat operations in August and a full withdrawal by the end of 2011. It's also an important test for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who came to power in 2006 and bills himself as the best candidate to assure security.

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