Iraqi security forces were again the target of a suicide attack as violence continues to destabilise the country in the run-up to elections next Sunday. Insurgents have stepped up their attacks on police and local troops in a bid to undermine the forthcoming vote.In the latest incident, eight members of the National Guard and a civilian were injured when a suicide bomber, wearing an explosives belt, blew himself up close to a military base in Hilla. Meanwhile, a day after they were reportedly released, China has still not established contact with eight of its nationals, who were kidnapped by militants. They had threatened to kill them unless China, which opposed the war in Iraq, explained why they were in the country. The kidnappers’ released a video apparently showing the men being freed. Elsewhere, in a statement on the Internet, the Al Qaeda ally, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said he was declaring “bitter war” on the elections.