Iraqi officials say suspected Sunni insurgents have attacked a minibus carrying police recruits, killing 11 people near Iraq's border with Syria.

A provincial official and a police officer say police found the 11 bodies and their bullet-ridden minibus Monday evening in a deserted area near the rural town of Baaj. The town is 80 miles west of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The assault comes as U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces are carrying out a major crackdown in Mosul and nearby areas to root out Al Qaeda in Iraq militants.