Two separate overnight suicide attacks targeting Iraqi government forces and an allied militia killed at least 20 people, officials said on Wednesday.
The deadlier of Tuesday\'s attacks was in the town of Tarmiyah north of Baghdad. Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives-laden belts among a group of soldiers and Sahwa militiamen gathered in the orchard of a local Sahwa leader, killing 12, a police officer said. Saeed Jassim, the leader of the Sunni Sahwa militia, was unhurt, but the commander of the military battalion deployed in the region died along with his deputy.
To maximize casualties, the suicide bombers blew themselves up in sequence: the first detonating among the group and the second at the gate of the compound as people tried to flee, he added. The dead included nine soldiers, one a brigade commander, and three militiamen, while 23 were wounded.
The former insurgent stronghold Tarmiyah is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad.
The Sahwa movement, also known as the Awakening Council, was formed by the US forces in 2007 to help fight insurgents during the height of Iraqi war. Ever since, it has been a target for Sunni hard-liners who consider them traitors.
In a separate incident, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a checkpoint leading to a police station at a village outside the northern city of Mosul, killing three policemen and four civilians.
When the ambulance rushed to the scene, gunmen opened fire on its crew, killing one and wounding three, a police official said. Mosul is located about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.
Violence has spiked in Iraq since April, with the pace of killing reaching levels unseen since 2008. Tuesday\'s attacks bring the death toll across Iraq to close to 600 in October alone, according to an estimate.
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