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Suicide Blast Targets Iraqi Police, Former Insurgents

A blast at a restaurant in the historic Iraqi city of Samarra has killed at least two people and wounded more than 20 others.

Iraqi police blamed a suicide bomber for Saturday's attack. They said the suspect targeted the restaurant because it was popular with Iraqi police and members of a government-backed Sahwa, or Awakening Council.

The council includes former Sunni insurgents who are partnering with the Iraqi government and the United States to battle al-Qaida in Iraq.

In 2006, a bombing at Samarra's al-Askariya mosque destroyed the shrine's famed Golden Dome, triggering a wave of sectarian violence between Shi'ites and Sunnis.

Meanwhile, an al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing earlier this week at a Baghdad crime lab.

The claim by the Islamic State of Iraq appeared on militant Web sites Saturday.

The attack killed at least 22 people, many of them police officers.

Earlier this week, the same group claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks Monday on three Baghdad hotels popular with Western journalists and contractors, killing at least 36 people.

The insurgent group says it also carried out three previous waves of coordinated vehicle bombings in Baghdad last year (in August, October and December). Those attacks on Iraqi government buildings killed almost 400 people.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks and said those who committed them will not succeed in derailing Iraq's efforts to build a future of peace and security.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.