Suicide bomber kills 25 in Iraq

Nearly 600 people have been killed in militant attacks across Iraq so far this month.

FILE: Iraqis look at the remains of a car bomb that detonated in the Kamaliya area of eastern Baghdad on 20 May 2013. Picture: AFP

MOSUL - A suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi army convoy in the northern city of Mosul early on Monday, killing at least 22 soldiers and three passersby, police said.

The bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives up to a military convoy in the eastern Kokchali district of Mosul, 390km north of Baghdad, before blowing himself and his car up.

Police said a suicide bomber was following the convoy and when it stopped in the middle of road, he detonated his vehicle right behind it.

A separate attack in western Mosul killed four policemen, police said.

It was unclear who was behind the blasts, but suicide bombings are the hallmark of al-Qaeda, which has been regrouping in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city.

Insurgent groups such as al-Qaeda have found willing recruits among Iraq's Sunni minority, which resents Shi'ite domination since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The attacks are the latest in a campaign of violence across Iraq that has raised fears of a return to full-blown conflict in a country where Kurds, Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.

Relations between Islam's two main denominations have been put under further strain from the civil war in Syria, which has drawn in Shi'ite and Sunni fighters from Iraq and beyond to fight against each other.

That is still well below the height of bloodletting in 2006-07, when the monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.

Meanwhile, militants attacked two prisons in Iraq overnight, killing 26 soldiers and policemen during failed attempts to break in and free the inmates, police and medics said.

One of the jails was located in the town of Taji 20km north of the capital, and the other in Abu Ghraib, on the western outskirts of Baghdad.