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Suicide bomber strikes fortified Iraqi compound

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 6:32 PM EST, Mon December 26, 2011
  • NEW: The suicide bomber got through six checkpoints
  • The bombing kills five and wounds 39 others, police say
  • A string of explosions killed dozens of people last week
  • Violence and political turmoil erupted just days after U.S. troops withdrew

Baghdad (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber passed through six security checkpoints before detonating at the main entrance to Iraq's heavily fortified Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad Monday.

The bombing killed at least five people and wounded 39 others, police said.

The attack follows a weekend meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and senior security officials to review last week's string of deadly bombings that killed almost 70 people and wounded more than 200.

Al-Maliki said at that session that security and stability must be the country's top priorities.

Bloodshed in Baghdad
Iraq's future hinges on political crisis
Iraq after the withdrawal

The seemingly coordinated explosions Thursday struck during the height of morning rush hour, hitting a number of Baghdad's primarily mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods. Nine car bombs, six roadside bombs and a mortar round all went off in a two-hour period, targeting residential, commercial and government districts in the Iraqi capital, two police officials told CNN.

Violence in Iraq has declined in recent years but last week's attacks were among the worst since August when a series of coordinated bombings killed at least 75 people in 17 Iraqi cities.

A recent political crisis has raised fears of a return of the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq that ripped the country apart at the height of the war a few years back.

Last Monday, al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered the arrest of the Sunni vice president, a move that escalated sectarian tensions and threatened to collapse Iraq's fragile power-sharing government.

The political turmoil as well as the recent spate of violence erupted just days after the final U.S. troops withdrew.