peaceful iraq towards successful elections

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    String of attacks leaves 42 dead in Iraq

    SAMARRA, Dec 28: At least 42 people were killed in a string of attacks on Iraqi security forces and other targets on Tuesday

    In one of a series of apparently coordinated strikes in north of Baghdad, guerrillas stormed a police station in Dijla, between Tikrit and Samarra, and gunned down 12 policemen.

    "Armed men took control of the police station and executed 12 policemen, three of them officers," one police source said, adding that the attackers then dynamited the building.

    Just outside Tikrit, the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein, three policemen were killed in an attack on a checkpoint. Another four policemen and a national guardsman were shot dead at a police station in Ishaki, south of the restive town of Samarra.

    Three guardsmen and three civilians were killed in a car bomb attack targeting a US-Iraq military convoy in Samarra, hospital sources said. The US military confirmed a car bombing near a tank, but said it had no record of the deaths and that there were no US casualties.

    In Baquba, 50 kilometres northeast of the capital, six national guardsmen were killed in a suicide car bomb attack. At Al Shurqat, 180 kilometres north of Samarra, two policemen were killed in an attack on their post, an official said.

    In the same area, an Iraqi intepreter for the US army was killed and an Iraqi businessman travelling with him was kidnapped, another official said. A roadside bomb killed one Iraqi civilian and wounded another on a road frequented by US convoys near Baiji, 200 kilometres north of Baghdad, a hospital official said.

    Three Iraqi businessmen working with the US army were killed at Suleyman Beg, 155 kilometres north of Baghdad, and a curfew imposed on the city afterwards. In Baghdad, a suicide bomber was killed and six people wounded in an attack against the convoy of an Iraqi national guard general Modher Abud as he was leaving his home, the interior ministry said.

    Another policeman was killed in Balad when guerrillas opened fire on security forces guarding a voter registration centre. The latest bloodshed brought to at least 74 the number of people killed in attacks throughout the country since Sunday evening, including two US soldiers.

    Iraq's nascent security forces have been crippled by a relentless and vicious campaign by guerillas, casting doubt on whether they would be able to handle securing next month's crucial elections without massive help from US-led troops.

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