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Blood spills in Iraq after gunmen killed at least five policemen in an attack on a police checkpoint south of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
The pre-dawn attack took place in Taza, a predominantly Shi'ite town.
Authorities say the gunmen first slit the throat of a policeman on duty on the night shift. Later they entered another building where four other policemen were sleeping. They shot them dead on the spot.
No one is immediately claiming responsibility for the attacks.
Kirkuk sits atop one of Iraq's key oil producing fields. It is an ethnically mixed city at the heart of a dispute between the Arab-led central government in Baghdad and ethnic Kurds who have regional authority.