Staggered explosions kill 23 in Iraq's western Anbar province

Staggered explosions kil

Staggered explosions Wednesday killed 23 people - 13 of them policemen - and wounded an Iraqi provincial governor, officials said, in the worst violence in months to hit the western province that was formerly al-Qaida's top stronghold in Iraq. The strategically important Anbar province was once the heartland of support for al-Qaida-linked militants, before many insurgents turned on the terror organization and joined forces with the US and the Iraqi government. The governor is the most senior Sunni leader to be attacked since then. While violence in Iraq has dropped considerably since the height of the conflict in 2006 and 2007, a reinvigorated insurgency in Anbar - which is also Iraq's largest province - could pose a serious risk to the country's stability as it prepares for elections in March. The bombings are also the latest in a string of attacks to target government buildings and installations in the country, as a way to undermine Iraqis' confidence in the ability of the government to protect itself.