BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two dozen people died in a surge of violence in northern Iraq, including 10 at a soccer game hit by a suicide car bombing, police said Friday, while the country's spiraling sectarian and political bloodshed killed at least 17 others elsewhere.
Two American soldiers were killed Friday in restive Anbar province west of the capital, the U.S. command said. It said only that they died "due to enemy action." At least 17 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since July 27, all but two of them in Anbar.
The suicide driver struck Thursday night during a soccer match between local teams in Hadhra, 180 miles north of Baghdad.
Seven of the dead were spectators and the other three were policemen providing security for the game, police Col. Abdul Karim Ahmed Khalaf said. Six civilians and nine officers were wounded, he said.
The attack occurred the day after a pair of bombs exploded on a soccer field in Baghdad, killing 11 young players and spectators. No group claimed responsibility for either attack, and it was unclear if they were part of a pattern.
In Mosul, 45 miles north of Hadhra, armed clashes erupted Friday after a car bomb killed four police officers, including a colonel. The shooting spread over several blocks on the eastern side of the Tigris River.
Eight insurgents were killed and five cars rigged with explosives were found before order was restored, police Maj. Gen. Withiq al-Hamdani said.
Also Friday, two people were killed and four wounded when three mortar shells exploded in a religiously mixed suburb near Baghdad, policeLt. Bilal Ali Majid said. Earlier in the day, an engineer was fatally shot in the capital and an unidentified body was found elsewhere in the city, police said.
In Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, six bodies were found Friday in the Tigris, four of them decapitated, officials said. It appeared they were victims of sectarian death squads responsible for escalating Sunni-Shiite conflict.
Police said gunmen barged into the home of a Shiite family late Thursday in Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, killing four and wounding eight.
Also Friday, the U.S. military said American forces killed at least three insurgents during an air strike and multiple raids southeast of Baghdad the day before.