BAGHDAD, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces thwarted a suicide bomb attack targeted a police headquarters in eastern Iraq, while gunmen killed a Baghdad provincial council employee on Wednesday, the police said.
In the early hours in the morning, the Iraqi security forces fought three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests trying to storm the police headquarters in the town of Hibhib, near Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"After a fierce clash with the attackers, the police force guarding the headquarters managed to kill the suicide bombers," the source said.
"The suicide bombers were trying to free ten suspected al-Qaida leaders who were held in the jail of the police headquarters of Hibhib, but they failed," Lieutenant Colonel Ghalib al-Karkhi, spokesman of Diyala's police, told Xinhua.
The coordinated attack was followed by sporadic gunfire and a car bomb explosion between gunmen and police reinforcement troops at the scene without causing human casualty, Karkhi said.
Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border, has long been a stronghold for al- Qaida militants and other insurgent groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated U.S. and Iraqi military operations against them.
In Baghdad, unidentified gunmen using pistols fitted with silencers shot dead Rafid Nuri Ibrahim, an employee at Baghdad Provincial Council, while he was driving his car in the morning on a highway in Baghdad's western district of Adil, an Interior Ministry source anonymously told Xinhua.
In a separate incident, another government employee was wounded by gunmen using silenced weapons in Baghdad's northeastern district of Shaab, the source said.
Violence and sporadic high-profile bomb attacks are still common in the Iraqi cities despite the dramatic decrease in violence since its peak in 2006 and 2007, when the sectarian conflicts pushed the country to the brink of a civil war.