Twin Homicide Blasts Kill 9 in Western Iraq

Two homicide bombers blew themselves up on Monday, killing nine people at the government compound in the provincial capital of Ramadi, local officials in the Iraqi province of Anbar said.

Insurgents frequently go after government targets in an effort to destabilize the U.S.-backed Iraqi authorities, as American troops prepare to leave by the end of next year.

The first blast occurred when a bomber drove a minibus packed with explosives into the entrance of the main government compound of the city, official spokesman Mohammed Fathi said.

As people gathered to observe the destruction, another suicide attacker detonated his explosive vest in their midst, said police and hospital officials.

The officials said in addition to the nine dead, another 43 people were injured by the blasts. Consecutive blasts meant to catch bystanders and rescue personnel have become a hallmark of Al Qaeda's tactics in Iraq in the past few years. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the double attack.

Ramadi is the seat of the Anbar provincial government and used to be a stronghold of Al Qaeda. Recently, local militias have managed to bring a measure of calm to the city and province.

The complex, which houses various government agencies, including the governor's offices, has been bombed twice this year.

In July, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a reception room outside the governor's office. Earlier this month, a bomber exploded outside the office complex, killing 17 people, including women and elderly people waiting to collect welfare checks.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, claimed responsibility for a December 2009 bombing of the same complex. Anbar's Governor, Qasim al-Fahadawi, lost a leg in that blast.

In a separate incident Monday, three members of the same family were killed when a roadside bomb hit their car outside the town of Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad. A 1-year-old child was also injured in the blast, police and hospital officials said.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.