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Series of Attacks Rock Iraq


US troops investigate car bombing outside Slovak Embassy in Baghdad
A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the embassy of Slovakia, in another day of violence in the Iraqi capital. No one was killed. Separately, a suicide bomber failed in his attempt to assassinate the head of the Iraqi police's elite Wolf Brigade, but killed at least three others. At least 20 more people were killed in other attacks.

Officials say a man driving a car packed with explosives blew himself up at a security barrier outside the Slovak Embassy. No one inside the compound was hurt, although police say one security guard was injured.

It is not clear why the embassy was targeted. Slovakia has about 100 troops in Iraq, mostly involved in removing landmines.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber dressed as a member of the Wolf Brigade, an elite police unit, blew himself up inside the brigade's headquarters. Officials say they believe the bomber wanted to assassinate Major General Mohammed Qureishi, the unit's founder.

Consisting of several hundred commandos, the Wolf Brigade was formed to combat Iraq's insurgency, much of which is driven by Sunni extremists.

The brigade has gained notoriety through its popular television program, on which General Qureishi is shown grilling confessed insurgents about their activities.

But the controversial group, primarily made up of Shi'ites, has been accused of targeting Iraq's Sunni minority, who dominated Iraq's government during the Saddam Hussein regime. General Qureishi denies any bias.

The violence comes after a relative lull in fighting in Baghdad, following Operation Lightning, a house-to-house sweep by Iraqi security forces to flush out insurgents hiding in the capital.

Speaking before Saturday's violence, Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways called Operation Lightning a success.

"I do believe that the operation was successful," he said. "It was a harder step than what we have done before. Such operations are necessary. But at the same time, insurgencies are not so weak that they would be defeated in one or two weeks. This will need time. And this is a complex process."

Officials say they arrested more than 1,100 suspected insurgents during Operation Lightning, which they would like to extend beyond the capital.

Another 11 people died Saturday when gunmen opened fire on a minibus in the town of Diyara, about 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. The victims were construction workers, who were traveling to the capital in an area known as the Triangle of Death.

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