Al-Qaida suspected as seven die in Iraq blast

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A suicide bomber set off a car bomb yesterday at a checkpoint leading to the Iraqi interior ministry, killing seven people and injuring 32 others, officials said.

Police said the bomber struck during the morning rush hour, hitting one of many security barriers set up around the ministry building. Five policemen were among the dead, officials said.

Two doctors at nearby hospitals confirmed the causality figures.

By last night, no one had claimed the attack but suicide attacks are the hallmark of the al-Qaida in Iraq terror group.

The attack followed bombings last week that killed as many as 70 people in a single day, increasing fears about Iraq’s future after US troops withdrew this month.

US and some Iraqi officials have warned of a resurgence of Sunni and Shiite militants and an increase in violence after the full US troop withdrawal.