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Bombs In Northern Iraq, At Least 15 Killed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Two bomb attacks in volatile parts of northern Iraq killed at least 15 people on August 29 and wounded more than 30, police said, interrupting a relatively peaceful start to the Ramadan fast.

In one attack, a suicide car bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 11 others at a police station in the town of Shirqat, 300 kilometers north of Baghdad, in Salahuddin Province. Four of those killed in the attack were police.

The blast, at about 8 a.m., destroyed many shops in the area, a police source in Shirqat said. The death toll may rise, the source said.

The other bombing killed six people and wounded 20 in the town of Sinjar, 390 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, which is home to Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect.

At least 21 people were killed in two suicide attacks in Sinjar earlier this month, part of a wave of violence that has hit ethnically and religiously mixed northern Nineveh Province.

Iraq is struggling to recover from years of sectarian slaughter and an insurgency triggered by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

A rash of violence in the past two months has raised doubts about the durability of security gains, including truck bomb attacks that killed almost 100 people at government ministries on August 19.

There also has been a series of attacks in areas of northern Iraq where tension is high between majority Arabs, ethnic Kurds and other minorities. Much of the violence has taken place in Nineveh.

The Shi'ite Muslim-led government, looking towards a general election in January, wants to show Iraqis that it is on top of the security situation as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw gradually by the end of 2011.