Car Packed With Explosives Kills 4 Iraqi Police Officers

BAGHDAD -- A car packed with explosives blew up Sunday near the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, killing four policemen in the latest sign that insurgents could be trying to win back old strongholds, Iraqi officials said. Attacks elsewhere in the country killed at least four others.

Fallujah has been the scene of several recent battles between security forces and suspected Sunni extremists. Two weeks ago, at least seven civilians were killed in a shootout between militants and Iraqi and U.S. commandos during a failed attempt to capture a suspected leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Police and hospital officials in Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, said the dead in Sunday's bombing included a police lieutenant colonel. A policeman and two civilians were also injured, the officials said.

In Baghdad, militants killed a government worker in a highway ambush and a Culture Ministry employee died of wounds in a separate shooting in a string of attacks targeting public servants, police and hospital officials said.

Another blast killed a passer-by and wounded seven others in Baghdad's mixed Sunni-Shiite Karradah neighborhood. Officials said the bomb appeared to be targeting a police patrol.

In the northern city of Mosul, gunman killed two brothers in a drive-by shooting, police officials said. The motive for the attack was not immediately known.

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

In the Baghdad attack, police said the assailants flagged down the car of an employee of Iraq's Committee on Anti-Corruption as he was driving on Baghdad's airport road and shot him. A hospital official confirmed the killing.

Nicknamed "Route Irish" by the U.S. military, the highway runs through several Sunni neighborhoods and was considered one of the world's deadliest roads as the insurgency took off in 2004.

Two other attacks in the capital also targeted public employees.

An Electricity Ministry employee was wounded in separate shootings, while two Cabinet aides were wounded in a car bombing, police said.

Iraqis have grown increasingly frustrated by the country's political deadlock that has Iraq without a government more than six months after March elections failed to produce a clear winner.

Iraqi and U.S. officials fear that insurgents are trying to exploit the political vacuum in an attempt to re-ignite sectarian tensions. There has also been a concerted campaign targeting security forces and public servants in an apparent effort to undermine government institutions.