Ali Aouni, Iraq intelligence academy head, killed in suicide bombing

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of an explosion on January 16, 2013 in Kirkuk, north of Baghdad. A wave of attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital left at least 17 people dead a day after a Sunni MP was killed in a suicide bombing, amid a worsening political crisis engulfing Iraq.
Credit: Marwan Ibrahim

Ali Aouni, the head of Iraq's intelligence academy, was killed by a suicide bomb on Sunday, along with three of his bodyguards. 

The bomber detonated explosives outside Aouni's home in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, according to Al Jazeera English

He reportedly told the intelligence chief's bodyguards that he wanted Aouni's help; he blew himself up when the guards let Aouni's car through the gates, the Associated Press reported

However, Aouni was reportedly not the target of the attacks — his neighbor, Lt. Habib Amin Ilias, was, but he was not harmed in the attack, BBC News reported

He is the highest-ranking Iraqi military official to be killed so far this year. 

No group has taken responsibility for the bombing, but Agence France Presse reported that Al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants are known for targeting military forces and government officials. 

There has been an uptick in attacks in recent weeks, as January became the deadliest month in Iraq since September, according to the AFP's tally. 

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