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2 killed, 16 wounded in violence in northern Iraq

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Three bombings targeted two police officers and an anti-al Qaeda Sons of Iraq movement
  • A woman and children are among those reported wounded
  • Similar bombings this year in Anbar province are believed to be the work of al Qaeda in Iraq

(CNN) -- Two people were killed and at least 16 people were wounded in multiple bombings targeting police and anti-al Qaeda fighters in the city of Samarra, Iraq, Friday evening, according to local police.

Several bombs exploded outside the house of a police officer, severely damaging his home and setting his car on fire. When police and Sons of Iraq fighters arrived at the scene and entered the apparently booby-trapped house, it exploded, wounding eight people, including two children and a woman, police said.

In another incident in the al-Shuhadaa neighborhood of Samarra, a number of bombs exploded outside the house of another police officer, authorities said, wounding six members of his family and severely damaging his home.

The home of a Sons of Iraq leader in the al-Jubairiya neighborhood in the city was targeted in another attack, police said. Attackers planted several bombs and gas cylinders with TNT outside his house. At least four members of his family were wounded.

Samarra is a predominantly Sunni city in Salaheddin province about 75 miles (125 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Sons of Iraq is a Sunni paramilitary force largely made up of former Sunni insurgents who turned on al Qaeda in Iraq. The force is credited with being a key factor in the drop in violence across the country, and has been frequently targeted by al Qaeda in Iraq bombings and assassinations.

Similar bombings this year are believed to be the work of Al Qaeda in Iraq, striking the homes of security forces and Sons of Iraq members in Anbar province.

The bombings come at a time of increased attacks across Iraq and political uncertainty. Iraqi politicians have been unable to form a government more than five months after the country's inconclusive national elections. There have been concerns that insurgents would take advantage of the political vacuum to try to reignite the sectarian bloodshed that gripped Iraq for years.

At the same time, U.S. forces continue a drawdown. President Barack Obama said last week that plans to reduce the total number of American troops in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of this month are on schedule, At that point, the U.S. military mission will shift to training and supporting Iraqi security forces, as well as support for U.S. diplomats.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.