A homicide truck bomber hit a residential area in a village in northern Iraq before dawn Thursday, killing at least 19 people and injuring 30 others, officials said.

A police officer and health official in the northern city of Mosul said the bomb went off around 12:30 a.m. in the village of Wardek, about 35 miles southeast of the city.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The blast took down a number of houses and the casualty toll was expected to rise because many people are still missing in the rubble, the officials said.

Local security forces intercepted a second suicide truck bomber, killing the driver and defusing the bomb before it could be detonated, they said.

Insurgents in northern Iraq, who have maintained a stronghold in Mosul, have frequently targeted remote villages and towns that depend on small security forces for protection.

The violence that continues to plague Iraq's north and the capital has forced the government in Baghdad to acknowledge gaps in security.