A suicide bomber ploughed an oil tanker packed with explosives into an Iraqi police station in a village north of Baquba on Wednesday, killing at least six policemen, police said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but members of the security forces are a prime target for resurgent Sunni Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda.
“I was sitting in the tower when I saw a speeding tanker rushing toward the gate of our station,” 23-year-old policeman Thamer Hatim told Reuters. “The guards fired on it and I did the same, but it didn’t stop, and exploded there.”
Violence in Iraq, which had eased after reaching a climax in 2006-07, is now rising again, with more than 7,000 civilians killed this year, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, a sniper shot a policeman on patrol in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, and in Saba al-Bour, north of the capital, a roadside bombing killed four people, police said.
A roadside bomb in Baghdad’s western Abu Ghraib district killed two members of a government-backed Sunni militia known as “Sahwa”, which helped U.S. troops rout al Qaeda in 2006-07.
But al Qaeda’s Iraqi wing has now regrouped and earlier this year joined forces with its Syrian counterpart to form the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has claimed responsibility for attacks on both sides of the border.
Iraqi officials blame al Qaeda’s resurgence on the civil war in neighboring Syria, which has drawn hardline Sunni Islamists from across the region and beyond into battle against President Bashar al-Assad, who is an ally of Shi’ite Iran.
Critics of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki say his Shi’ite-led government’s treatment of minority Sunnis has fuelled the Sunni resentment that al Qaeda is now exploiting.