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Seven Killed By Truck Bomb In Northern Iraq

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) -- Seven people were killed, including four police officers, when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into the compound of a police station in northern Iraq, a police official said.

Seventeen people were wounded in the explosion in the volatile northern city of Mosul, where Al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups are making a stand as violence across the rest of Iraq begins to recede six years after the U.S. invasion.

"The suicide bomber even talked to the guards at the back door, claiming he had a job to conclude in the compound. He was stopped from entering but managed to break through the gate and blow himself up," said the senior police official, asking not to be identified.

Mosul, 390 kilometers north of Baghdad, and surrounding Nineveh Governorate are viewed by the U.S. military as one of the last major combat theaters in Iraq as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw over the next year and a half.

It is a flashpoint for ethno-sectarian conflict. While mainly populated by Sunni Arabs, Mosul had been run by a Kurdish minority until provincial elections earlier this year restored political clout to the Sunni community.

Resentment at their exclusion from power had provided Al-Qaeda and other Sunni Islamist groups with some support among the population there.

The sectarian slaughter unleashed across Iraq by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion has faded dramatically over the past year. But militant groups continue to carry out car and suicide bombings on pretty much a daily basis.