At least nine people were killed and 17 others wounded on Monday when attackers detonated an oil tanker packed with explosives inside a governmental compound in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, police said.
The attack comes as AFP figures show that March was the deadliest month in Iraq since last August with 271 deaths.
The blast in central Tikrit, 150 kilometers north of Baghdad, took place 15 minutes after attackers drove the tanker inside a compound housing governmental administrative offices. Seven policemen were among the nine people killed.
Police at the scene said compound guards may not have suspected the tanker because fuel trucks arrive every morning to deliver gas and oil to the government offices.
“The tank was stopped just behind the police administration building and partially damaged it. I was injured in my face and stomach because of glass,” Captain Mohammed Salih was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The latest violence strikes as figures compiled by AFP show that March was the deadliest month in Iraq since August with 271 people killed in attacks.
A total of 906 people were also wounded in the unrest last month, according to the data based on reports from security and medical officials nationwide, which were sharply higher than figures released by the government.
The death toll was the highest since August 2012, when 278 people died, and was sharply higher than the toll for February, when 220 people were killed and 571 were wounded.
In last month’s bloodiest day, 56 people were killed in a spate of bombings and shootings nationwide on March 19, the eve of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Figures compiled by the ministries of health, defence and interior, however, were markedly lower than those tallied by AFP.
According to government figures, 163 people were killed – 95 civilians, 45 policemen and 23 soldiers – and 256 others were wounded.