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Officials: Police kill 3 attackers in northern Iraq amid rising Sunni-Shiite tensions

  • In this photo taken on Monday, April 22, 2013, Iraqi army soldiers escort young and elderly people leaving a protest site in Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo)

    In this photo taken on Monday, April 22, 2013, Iraqi army soldiers escort young and elderly people leaving a protest site in Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi army soldiers stage on the outskirts of Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Iraqi army soldiers stage on the outskirts of Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, April 22, 2013, children and young people leave a protest camp in Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo)

    In this photo taken on Monday, April 22, 2013, children and young people leave a protest camp in Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn Tuesday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Officials say Iraqi security forces have killed three gunmen who attacked a checkpoint in the country's north amid escalating Sunni-Shiite tensions.

The officials say the police repelled the attack on Wednesday morning near the former al-Qaida stronghold of Mosul. The city is about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

A car bomb later struck a police patrol just north of Baghdad, killing a policeman and two civilians.

Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

On Tuesday, security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in the northern town of Hawija, sparking deadly clashes. The unrest and a spate of other attacks, mostly targeting Sunni mosques, killed at least 56 people.