Two U.S. Marines were killed Monday in separate roadside attacks.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Nearly simultaneous suicide bombings at three military checkpoints in northern Iraq killed as many as 17 people Tuesday, police said, and dozens were hurt in Baghdad by a car bomb apparently aimed at a police convoy.
U.S. and Iraqi troops, meanwhile, launched an offensive against insurgents in the volatile northern town of Tall Afar.
The triple bombings outside the town of Hawija, about 130 miles north of Baghdad, occurred within a few minutes of one another at checkpoints manned by Iraqi soldiers, said Iraqi police Gen. Ahmed Obeidi.
At 9:30 a.m., a suicide bomber tried to drive his car onto a U.S. military base in Baggara, three miles west of Hawija, but couldn't get past an Iraqi army checkpoint, Obeidi said. The bomber detonated his car at the checkpoint and killed one Iraqi soldier.
Minutes later, another suicide car bomber struck a checkpoint in Aziziya, on the north side of Hawija, killing two Iraqi soldiers.
The deadliest bombing occurred soon afterward in Dibis, a town two miles west of Hawija. Iraqi soldiers grew suspicious of a car in a line of vehicles at the Dibis checkpoint, Obeidi said. When the soldiers approached the car, he said, it exploded, killing 11 Iraqis, including five soldiers, and setting more than 10 cars ablaze.
After the attacks, shops in Hawija closed and people, including policemen and soldiers, poured into the main hospital to give blood, which had been in short supply, said Jasim Hamad, a physician at the hospital. Hamad said three children younger than 5 were among those killed.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, reported that two Marines had been killed Monday in separate roadside bombings outside the western city of Fallujah. And a Sunni Muslim cleric who had been abducted Sunday, Salam Kardici, was found shot to death Tuesday in the southern port of Basra, where a Shiite Muslim cleric was assassinated last week.
Attacks on Iraqi and foreign security forces have accounted for a large portion of the more than 850 killings in Iraq since a transitional government led by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari took office in late April.
The car bomb Tuesday morning in Baghdad wounded 28 people, including a policeman, according to a hospital official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Witnesses in the neighborhood of Shula, in northern Baghdad, said the bomb apparently was intended to hit a convoy of police officers who passed the same spot every morning on their way to set up a security checkpoint nearby.
"We knew it would happen here one day," said Esmail Thamir, 42, who owns a real estate office 15 yards from where the car containing the bomb was parked.