At least 17 people were killed Saturday and 15 others were wounded in attacks reported in different areas of Iraq, officials at the Interior Ministry told Efe.

Six police officers lost their lives in a car-bomb suicide attack against a checkpoint on a highway to the west of the city of Samarra in the province of Salahuddin, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Baghdad.

Authorities surrounded the area of the incident to guard against further attacks, the officials said.

At the same time, four brothers who were members of the pro-government Sunni militias known as the Salvation Councils, were gunned down by an armed group that burst into their home in the Arab Yabbur region south of Baghdad.

Also killed in the attack was the wife of one of them and his two parents, officials said.

Two Shi'ite faithful also died and 12 were wounded in an assault on a bus near the town of Samarra, at some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.

The sources said that a bomb explosion killed a soldier and wounded two others who were part of a military patrol in the town of al-Mada'in, south of Baghdad.

Meanwhile a police officer lost his life and another was wounded by the explosion of a limpet mine stuck to their vehicle as they drove through the town of Dujail, at some 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital.

Terrorism and religious violence have been rampant in Iraq in recent months, the deadliest in five years, with constant attacks on security forces and the army and against Shi'ite and Sunni targets. EFE