Ramadi, Iraq (ANTARA News/AFP) - Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in Iraq`s western desert, close to the Syrian and Jordanian borders, killing five policemen early on Tuesday, security and medical officials said.

The attack took place soon after midnight about 500 kilometres (310 miles) west of Baghdad in mostly Sunni Anbar province, according to a police officer in Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Five policemen, including a lieutenant, were killed, he said on condition of anonymity.

One of the attackers was killed in clashes that ensued between the gunmen and police, while the others set off a bomb attached to a nearby caravan and, using that as a distraction, fled the scene.

The total number of gunmen who carried out the assault was not clear.

A medic at Ramadi hospital confirmed the facility received the bodies of the five policemen killed, and that they died of gunshot wounds.

The attack came on the heels of a similar assault on a police compound in Ramadi itself, where a series of car and suicide bombs preceded gunmen storming the compound and laying siege to it, killing seven policemen before blowing themselves up.

Anbar was a key Sunni insurgent base in the years after the US-led invasion of 2003, but after 2006 local tribes sided with the American military against Al-Qaeda and day-to-day violence has dropped dramatically.

However the province, particularly its capital, has been the target of frequent attacks since.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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