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Iraqi officials say 17 killed in car bomb blast

A car bomb exploded Sunday outside government offices in a province west of the Iraqi capital, killing 17 people, officials said. It was the latest deadly hit on a favorite insurgent target.

At least 23 people were also wounded in Sunday's blast, according to the police and hospital officials. The blast took place near the provincial council compound in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province.

Police found a second bomb in a nearby parking lot a few minutes later, but said they detonated it in a safe area.

The compound in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, also houses the Anbar police headquarters and the governor's office.

Government officials in Anbar, a former stronghold of al-Qaida militants and Sunni insurgents, have frequently been targeted by insurgents.

Nearly a year ago, the Islamic state of Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, claimed responsibility for an attack on the same compound. That attack caused Anbar Gov. Qasim al-Fahadawi to lose an arm and undergo leg surgery in the United States.

The officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.