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Blasts kill 12 in central Iraq

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
  • NEW: Security forces were casualties in the strike
  • A car bomb and a suicide attacker detonate outside a bank
  • At least 30 others are wounded
  • Iraqi prime minister gets a phone call from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden before the attack
  • Iraq
  • Nuri al-Maliki
  • Joe Biden

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- A car bomb and a suicide attacker struck security forces outside a central Iraqi bank on Thursday, killing 12 people and wounding 30 others, police officials said.

Police officers and soldiers were lining up outside of the state-run al-Rafidain bank in Tikrit to pick up their monthly salaries, police said.

Six soldiers and three police officers were among the 12 killed and nine police officers and eight soldiers were among the 30 wounded.

Police believe the suicide attacker parked an explosives-laden car outside the bank. After that bomb went off, the attacker walked among security forces and set off his explosives vest.

Tikrit is the hometown of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and it is located in Salaheddin province.

There was no claim of responsibility but police in Tikrit say the strike bears the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq, the predominantly Sunni Muslim militant group.

The assault came hours after the Iraqi prime minister received a phone call from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki discussed the withdrawal of U.S. troops with Biden during the phone call Wednesday evening.

Al-Maliki said the Iraqi parliament will decide whether U.S. forces should "stay or not," according to a news release from his office.

Iraqi political leaders were unable to meet a self-imposed deadline over the weekend on whether to request U.S. troops stay beyond a planned end-of-the-year withdrawal, lawmakers told CNN.

The deadline imposed by President Jalal Talabani passed with lawmakers divided over how or whether to request an extension, raising questions about when Iraq may ask and whether it will be too late to turn around withdrawing troops.

Al-Maliki said months ago that the White House would need to know Iraq's decision by August.