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Rebels attack Iraqi police station, kill four

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, Mar 22 (Reuters) Guerrillas attacked an Iraqi police station in a town near Baghdad with rocket propelled grenades and mortar bombs today, killing a police commander and three policemen, police said.

The dawn attack was similar to one carried out the day before on a police station and a jail in Miqdadiya, northeast of Baghdad, in which 22 people were killed.

Police named the commander as Colonel Ahmed Jabar, head of a so-called ''stability unit'' based in the heavily fortified police station in Madaen, about 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Baghdad.

Madaen, a mixed Sunni Arab and Shi'ite Muslim town, is in a volatile area where sectarian tensions run high and insurgent attacks on Iraqi security forces are frequent.

Police said they had raided houses in the town after the attack, detaining 70 people, including a Syrian who had leaflets by the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Police say the palm tree orchards around Madaen make it easy for insurgents to infiltrate the town to plant roadside bombs.

The latest attacks took place as Iraq's political leaders, under pressure from Washington, continued to wrangle over forming a new government three months after elections.

A government of national unity is widely seen as the best hope of bringing stability to Iraq, where there are fears the insurgency may expand into sectarian conflict, pushing the country into civil war.

REUTERS PR PM1309

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