Officials in Iraq say at least 40 people were killed Thursday in two
bomb attacks, including a suicide bombing west of Baghdad that killed
three U.S. Marines.
Officials say the suicide bomber blew himself up at a municipal office in western Iraq's Anbar province, as the local mayor met with tribesmen opposed to al-Qaida. The blast in the town of Karmah killed at least 23 people, including the mayor and tribal chief.
The U.S. military says three U.S. Marines and two interpreters also were killed in the attack, which it blamed on al-Qaida.
In the other attack, a car bomb went off on a crowded street in the northern city of Mosul, killing 18 people and wounding 80 others. The bomb exploded as the governor of surrounding Nineveh province, Duraid Kashmola was inspecting damage from an earlier rocket attack on a market. The governor was not hurt.
In another development, the U.S. military says it killed al-Qaida's top commander in Mosul and two other insurgents during a gun battle on Tuesday.
The military says troops killed al-Qaida in Iraq "emir" Abu Khalaf, a deputy to the group's former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. U.S. forces killed Zarqawi in an airstrike in Diyala province in June 2006.
In other operations Thursday, the U.S. military says troops killed two suspected al-Qaida terrorists and captured 15 others in central and northern Iraq.
The military says the Anbar suicide bombing will not delay its plan to hand over security in the province to Iraqi forces on Saturday. Anbar is set to become the 10th province to revert to Iraqi control after the region experienced a sharp drop in violence since 2006.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.