Two suicide bomb attacks bearing the hallmarks of al-Qaida struck government buildings in the provincial capital of Anbar, killing more than 20 people, mostly police and security officials.
Anbar provincial Gov. Qassim Mohammed Abid al-Fahdawi was transferred by military helicopter to a hospital in Baghdad because of injuries suffered during the blasts, the Voices of Iraq news agency reports.
Anbar province was once a stronghold of the al-Qaida-backed insurgency that gripped Iraq in 2007. U.S. forces sponsored a so-called Sunni Awakening movement in Anbar, placing moderate militants on the U.S. payroll in return for fighting al-Qaida forces.
Adnad Mousarhed, the head of the Awakening Council in Diyala province, was killed when a bomb went off near his home in Baqubah.
Security forces in Ramadi imposed a ban on all vehicle traffic as a deterrent against any further attacks. Elsewhere in Iraq, three police officials were wounded by a bomb explosion while on patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk while two soldiers were killed by unknown gunmen in Mosul.
Iraq enjoyed a relatively secure year as U.S. military forces move to hand over much of the security files over to their Iraqi counterparts. Violence could escalate, however, as the country prepares to pick a new government in March.
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