- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BAGHDAD (AP) — A bomb exploded near the house of a policeman in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on Tuesday, killing his 6-month-old niece, both her parents and five other members of the same family.

The policeman, Lt. Col. Qais Rashid, was unharmed. But both his parents, his sister, two brothers and their wives all died when the blast leveled his home, said Col. Khalid Jassim of the Tikrit police. Rashid’s 2-year-old-niece — the baby’s older sister — survived the blast, officials said.

The baby niece, Shahad Mohammed, was the child of one of Rashid’s brothers. It was not immediately clear whether he had any other surviving siblings besides the three killed.

Insurgents frequently target policemen and security forces in an attempt to destabilize Iraq as the U.S. military winds down its role in the country. Tikrit, located some 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, was once an insurgent stronghold but has been calmer in recent years as violence has ebbed throughout Iraq.

Saad Hassan, an official in Tikrit’s main hospital, confirmed the death toll.

In Samarra, 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck a police patrol, killing two policemen and wounding two. In the capital Baghdad, two bombs attached to buses exploded and wounded 15 Iranian pilgrims, officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

In other developments, an Iraqi military general said he will investigate his troops in connection with the beating of journalists who were covering a bombing in Baghdad a day earlier.

Two Associated Press journalists were among those assaulted by Iraqi soldiers while trying to cover a Monday morning bombing that killed a Baghdad provincial council lawmaker. An AP Television News cameraman had his foot broken in the beatings and soldiers punched and kicked an AP photographer.

Commander of Military Operations Lt. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Izi described the beatings as an “event of aggression against journalists in Baghdad” and said he will not ignore the incident.

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