|Suicide blast kills Iraqi intelligence officer||
A suicide bomber in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar has killed a senior Iraqi army intelligence officer, along with three of his bodyguards, police officials say.
The bomber detonated his explosives at the officer's home in the town, located about 60 km west of Mosul, police said.
Police officials said that the Saturday morning attack occurred when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt near Brigadier General Ali Aouni's car as he was leaving his house in Tal Afar. Aouni was the head of the intelligence academy in the Iraqi defense ministry.
“Guards killed one suicide bomber, but when the brigadier general and his bodyguards went out another bomber ran among them and blew himself up,” a local official said.
The suicide bomber, who was waiting outside of Aouni's house, told the guards that he wanted Aouni to help him on some matter. When the guards opened a gate to let Aouni's car through, the bomber blew himself up.
There was no claim of responsibly for the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda's local franchise, which often uses high profile-killings to sow fear and undermine the government's authority.
A medic in Tal Afar hospital confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.
Iraq has seen an increase in attacks in recent weeks, with January the deadliest month since September, according to a tally kept by the AFP news agency.
Levels of violence, however, remain markedly lower than during the peak of hostilities in 2006 and 2007.
More than ten suicide attackers have struck security forces, Shia targets and a lawmaker since January.
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