Militants kill 4 policemen, wound 5 in separate attacks in Iraq, officials say

Assailants opened automatic fire on police checkpoints in central and northern Iraq early on Wednesday, killing four officers and wounding five, officials said.

In one attack, gunmen in two speeding cars sprayed policemen with machinegun fire in the town of Musayyib, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the capital Baghdad. Two officers were killed and four were wounded there, a police official said.

In the other attack, militants on foot exchanged fire with police at a checkpoint in the city of Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding one.

Two hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

Security forces are frequently targeted by insurgents seeking to undermine government efforts to restore security in Iraq after years of strife.

Despite a significant drop in violence since the height of insurgency several years ago, militants still launch deadly attacks almost daily.