At least 27 people, many of them police, were killed and more than 30 wounded Tuesday when a bomb exploded near the home of the provincial governor in the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniya, police and medical sources said.
Gov. Salam Hussein Alwan and his family were uninjured, police said. The blast ripped through the area around his compound in the capital of the normally quiet Qadisiya province. The bombing was followed by a secondary blast when the fuel tank of a police car blew up.
The governor reportedly had been expected to leave his residence about the time of the bombing, just after 7 a.m. A group of journalists had been told to gather by the compound’s entrance to accompany the governor on a trip. A cameraman was killed in the blast.
Officials complained that the province had been told of plans for an attack but failed to thwart it.
“Several warnings were received,” said Kareem Zghair, head of the provincial council’s security committee.
The bombing followed an assault last week by an insurgent group on the main local government building in eastern Iraq’s Diyala province, and a deadly attack in March on the seat of the governing body in Salahuddin province in the north.
The explosion in Diwaniya also came after the bombing of a French Embassy convoy in Baghdad on Monday, which wounded several Iraqis, and a blast Sunday targeting a Western security company guarding a client in the southern oil region of Basra. That attack, on a route traveled by personnel from oil companies and Western firms, left one Iraqi and one Westerner wounded, according to security sources.
Iraq’s officials held a meeting Monday in an attempt to repair fractured relations among political blocs and to begin discussions on whether any U.S. troops should stay in the country after 2011. Despite the formation of a government in December, the Cabinet has failed to name its security ministers, and Iraq’s politics remain corroded by mistrust.
Monday’s meeting ended with a statement from President Jalal Talabani vowing that parties would continue meeting and had committed themselves to stopping their attacks on one another in the media.
Special correspondent Fakhrildeen reported from Najaf and Times staff writer Salman from Baghdad. Staff writer Ned Parker in Baghdad contributed to this report.