Written on 3:53 AM by yahoo
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 24 Iraqi police officers and police recruits were killed when a suicide bomber riding on a bicycle exploded at an Iraqi police base in central Baquba Monday morning, an Interior Ministry official said.
Ermergency personnel respond Sunday after a suicide bomber attacked a commercial area in Kirkuk.
The blast also wounded 17 people, the official said.
Local health officials put the death toll at 27. They also said a woman and child were among the wounded.
Baquba is the capital of the Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
Six civilians were killed and 25 others wounded when a car bomb exploded near a bus stop in Kirkuk, local police said.
The bomb detonated about 2:45 p.m. local time in al-Iskan, a commercial area of the northern Iraqi city.
The oil-rich city of Kirkuk is ethnically diverse, with large populations of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen jockeying for power.
About 150 miles (240 kilometers) south, in the capital, a car bomb went off in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Kadhimiya district, killing two civilians and wounding 10 others, an Interior Ministry official said.
Also Saturday, gunmen kidnapped 10 tribal sheiks in Baghdad as the men were heading home after meetings with Iraqi officials on the nation's contentious reconciliation process, an Interior Ministry official said.
The sheiks -- seven Sunnis and three Shiites -- were riding in two vehicles through the capital's Shaab district, a stronghold of the Mehdi Army, the militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Karbala returns to Iraqi control
The U.S. Army handed over responsibility for the security of the Karbala province to the Iraqi military in a ceremony Monday morning.
Al-Maliki and other dignitaries gathered at a soccer stadium in the provincial capital for speeches and a parade that ended with a cheerleading-style performance and mock paramilitary drill by Iraq soldiers
"Step by step, Iraqis are assuming cpontrol for the security in their provinces, and Karbala today is leading the way," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the U.S. troops in the province.
The U.S. military will maintain a presence in the province to support the Iraqi military when requested.
"We are only a phone call away," Lynch said.
Karbala, a Shiite province south of Baghdad, will be the eighth of 18 Iraqi provinces to be handed over to the Iraqi government by coalition forces. The provinces previously returned to Iraqi control were Najaf, Muthanna, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.The Karbala handover was delayed by recent clashes between Shiite factions, but the area is considered now to be more peaceful than many other sections of the country.