Three Iraq soldiers killed in checkpoint attack

AFP , Sunday 13 Jan 2013

An attack by militants on an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad on Sunday left three soldiers dead, security and medical officials said.

Insurgents threw hand grenades at the checkpoint, which lies east of Samarra, 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad, before opening fire with machineguns, an army lieutenant colonel and a medic at the city's hospital said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants including Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq often seek to target security forces and officials to destabilise the government and push the country back towards the communal bloodshed that engulfed it from 2005 to 2008.

Violence is down sharply from its peak in those years, but attacks remain common, especially in Salaheddin province, which surrounds Samarra.

The province saw the second-highest per capita rate of civilian deaths nationwide in 2012, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

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