Two killed, five wounded in clashes in Iraq's Diyala
A policeman and an insurgent were killed and five security members were wounded on Saturday in clashes and bomb blasts near Baquba, the capital city of Iraq's volatile province of Diyala, a provincial police source said, Xinhua reported.
The clashes erupted in the afternoon when insurgents opened fire on an Iraqi security convoy in al-Hadeed area, just west of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The clashes resulted in the killing of an insurgent, while a policeman was killed and three others were wounded by a roadside bomb planted by the insurgents detonated near a police vehicle when policemen tried to cordon off the attackers, the source said.
Another roadside bomb went off near vehicles of an Iraqi army patrol which were sent to chase the insurgents, wounding two soldiers, the source said.
Afterwards, Iraqi security forces sealed off the area and conducted search operations looking for the attackers who disappeared in the rural area, the source added.
Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border east of the country, has long been a stronghold for al-Qaida militants and other insurgent groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated U.S. and Iraqi military operations against them.
Violence is still common in Iraqi cities as security deteriorated, causing a setback to the efforts of the Iraqi government to restore normalcy in the country days after the U.S. military announced withdrawal of its combat troops from the war- torn country.