Three killed in roadside blast

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Baghdad - A roadside bomb in northern Iraq killed three people on Monday, while in Baghdad gunmen wounded two government officials in failed assassination attempts, officials said.

Police Brigadier General Sarhat Qadir said the blast struck a car carrying four people near the city of Kirkuk, 290km north of Baghdad. One person was wounded in the explosion.

Kirkuk sits on top of one of Iraq's largest oil reserves and has long been a point of friction among Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen who are vying for control of the city and the land surrounding it.

In Baghdad, two government officials were wounded in separate assassination attempts, police and hospital officials said.

Gunmen shot judge Munir Hadad in his hand during a drive-by shooting on a highway in central Baghdad. Hadad served as the spokesperson for the Iraqi High Tribunal formed to prosecute Saddam and his aides.

Also, senior Finance Ministry official Mohammed Ali al-Safi was wounded in western Baghdad after assailants opened fire on his car.

Both police and medical officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information.

Attacks on Iraqi forces and officials have surged in recent months as the US military prepares to withdraw from the country. - Sapa-AP

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