A triple suicide bombing has killed 26 members of Kurdish security forces north east of Baghdad while a roadside bomb killed the police chief of the western Anbar province.
The attacks dealt major blows to Iraqi security forces struggling to combat the Islamic State extremist group, which this weekend published an article allegedly written by British hostage John Cantlie.
The triple attack took place in Qara Tappah, in the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province, according to an official from the Kurdish Asayish security forces.
He said the first bomber detonated an explosives vest at the gateway to a security compound that also houses the office of a main Kurdish political party.
Minutes later, two suicide bombers drove cars filled with explosives into the compound, causing heavy damage. At least 60 people were wounded in the attack.
Islamic militants have seized some towns in the volatile Diyala province and have clashed with Kurdish forces there.
In the Anbar attack, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Dulaimi was killed while travelling in a convoy north of the provincial capital Ramadi through an area cleared by Iraqi security forces a day earlier, according to Anbar councilman Faleh al-Issawi.
The Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants seized the Anbar city of Fallujah, parts of Ramadi and large rural areas of Anbar early this year.
The loss of Fallujah – where American troops engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year US intervention in the country – foreshadowed the later loss of second city Mosul and much of the north.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed Mr al-Dulaimi’s death, calling him a “hero who set a good example for self-sacrifice”.
It praised his role in reorganising the provincial police force and leading major fighting that caused heavy casualties among the militants. The attack in Anbar followed a bloody day in the capital Baghdad, where a series of car bomb attacks killed at least 45 people in Shiite-majority areas.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the recent attacks, yet officials in the Shiite-led government and Shiite neighbourhoods are frequently targeted by Sunnis.
The lengthy article allegedly written by John Cantile was included in the fourth issue of IS’s Dabiq magazine and carries the headline: “The real story behind my videos”.
Mr Cantlie, a photojournalist who has worked for newspapers including The Sunday Times, has featured in several propaganda videos released by the Islamic extremists in recent weeks.
In the article, which was published online, he insists that he produces the scripts for the videos and calls on the British Government to negotiate his release.
It includes a photograph of Mr Cantlie appearing to wear the now-familiar orange outfit worn by other IS hostages.
Mr Cantlie’s father, Paul, has said his son was seized in northern Syria where he had been working as an independent photojournalist.