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More attacks on government targets in Iraq

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
  • A colonel in the Interior Ministry's forensics department is killed
  • Two intelligence service employees are wounded
  • An Awakening Council leader is killed south of Baghdad
  • Baghdad
  • Kirkuk
  • Iraq War
  • Nuri al-Maliki
  • Terrorism

Baghdad (CNN) -- An Iraqi Interior Ministry officer was killed and two intelligence officials were badly wounded Friday in Baghdad -- the latest in a string of attacks on government officials in recent weeks, ministry officials said.

Col. Nameer Khazal, who served in the ministry's Baghdad forensics department, was shot dead in the southwestern part of the sprawling capital, officials said. Gunmen with silencers on their pistols intercepted his car and gunned him down.

In the Harthiya neighborhood of west-central Baghdad, two employees of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service were in a car when they were critically wounded, according to officials.

The officials don't want their names mentioned because they are not authorized to talk to the media and don't want to identify themselves for security concerns.

Overall, violence in the country has dropped dramatically since the peak of the sectarian killings between 2005 and 2007.

But the latest wave of violence in the country, especially in past few weeks, has raised questions about the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the country as the United States plans to have all its troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.

The U.N. office in Iraq has expressed concern over violence toward government and security figures. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said al Qaeda and other terrorists are behind the killings but also has blamed political movements and security guards. He promised to pursue the attackers.

Other attacks rippled across Iraq on Friday, the ministry officials said.

An Awakening Council leader in Iskandariya south of Baghdad was killed when a bomb attached to his car exploded.

The councils are predominantly Sunni Muslim, and are made up of former militants or insurgent sympathizers who have turned against al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. military credits the councils with playing a key role in bringing about a nationwide drop in violence.

North of Baghdad in Baquba, a Sunni imam named Saddoon al-Mashaikhi was critically wounded by a bomb planted at the main entrance of his house. The explosion occurred after the imam entered his house following his Friday sermon at a mosque.

All of this comes after several attacks Thursday, including:

-- In the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, 27 people were killed and 84 were wounded in a blast. Gen. Jamal Taher, Kirkuk's police commander, said most of the people were security officers.

Neighboring Turkey, which has treated injured Iraqis in the past for humanitarian reasons, is treating 23 of the victims. The Kirkuk region has a large population of Turkmen people, who have ethnic and linguistic ties to Turks.

-- A Shiite imam was killed in a bombing in western Baghdad.

-- A roadside bomb killed four Iraqi soldiers south of Mosul in northern Iraq.