( Reuters )- A suicide bomber targeting Iraqi soldiers and civilians commemorating Iraq's Army Day killed at least eight people and injuring a dozen in central Baghdad on Sunday, police said.
Among the dead were four police officers, three Iraqi soldiers and one civilian, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. At least 12 other people were injured in the attack, which took place around 12:30 p.m. local time.
Army Day - an official holiday - this year marks the 87th anniversary of the establishment of Iraq's army with military parades and other ceremonies.
Earlier Sunday in Baghdad, a Shiite tribal sheik who was part of an effort to form an armed group to combat militias in his Baghdad neighborhood was shot and killed, police said.
Sheik Ismaiel Abbas , believed to be 45, was outside his house in Shaab when he was shot by gunmen driving by in two cars, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media. Shaab is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Baghdad. Shiite militias are active in the area.
A resident of the neighborhood, who asked not to be named saying he feared reprisal attacks, said Abbas was in the process of helping form an armed group to combat the growing influence of the militias.
In other parts of Iraq, groups of mostly Sunni fighters opposing al- Qaida in Iraq have sprung up in the last year. The groups have been credited by American and Iraqi officials for helping cut violence across the country by 60 percent.
Meanwhile, a local official at the morgue in Kut , 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, said a bullet-riddled body was found Sunday morning in the city. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release the information.
Also Sunday, the U.S. military said that an American soldier died after being hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq's restive Diyala province. The soldier died Saturday when the bomb detonated near his vehicle during an operation in the province northeast of Baghdad, the military said. It did not give details about the operation. The soldier's identity was being withheld pending notification of his family.
The report of that death came a day after the U.S. military said an Iraqi soldier was accused of killing two decorated American servicemen during a joint operation in northern Iraq.
An Iraqi official said the suspect may have links to militant groups.
The shooting the day after Christmas in the northern city of Mosul , which left three other U.S. soldiers and a civilian interpreter wounded, was one of only a handful of known attacks by a member of the Iraqi military on the American troops who train and work closely with Iraqi forces.
Initial results from an Iraqi investigation indicate that the soldier who opened fire may have links to local militants, said Brig. Mutaa Habib Jassim al- Khazrachi , commander of the Iraqi army's 2nd Division, who did not elaborate Saturday.
"For reasons that are yet unknown, at least one Iraqi Army soldier allegedly opened fire killing" the two, the U.S. military said.
The soldier fled "but was identified by other Iraqi army personnel" and was apprehended, it said.
The U.S. military said its investigators and the Iraqi army were looking into the shooting.