String of attacks targeting police kills 22 in Iraq as number of US troops falls below 50,000

By Sameer N. Yacoub, AP
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

22 dead in string of attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A string of more than a dozen attacks targeting Iraqi security forces stretching from one end of the country to the other killed 22 people and left scores wounded on Wednesday, police and hospital officials said.

There were no claims of responsibility, but the scale and reach of the violence, which comes a day after the number of U.S. troops fell below 50,000, underscored insurgent efforts to show their might as the American military presence in Iraq shrinks.

The deadliest attack occurred in north Baghdad where a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in a parking lot behind a police station, killing 15 people, including six policemen and nine civilians. Another 58 were wounded in the attack in Baghdad’s Qahira neighborhood, police and hospital officials said.

The explosion left a crater of about three meters in diameter, damaged two nearby houses and brought down segments of the concrete blast wall protecting the police station.

Also in Baghdad, two civilians were killed and eight were wounded when a car packed with explosives blew up in Adan square in the northern part of the capital.

North of the capital, a car bomb exploded near the local council building of Muqdadiyah, 60 miles (90 kilometers) from Baghdad, killing three civilians and injuring 18, according to Diyala police spokesman Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi.

In Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, 28 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police station. A police spokesman in the Shiite holy city, Jassim al-Khatabi, said civilians, policemen and several detainees held at the station were among the injured.

In Basra, in southern Iraq, two people were wounded in a car bomb explosion, police the country’s second largest city said.

While violence has subsided significantly since the height of the sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, militants continue to target members of Iraq’s nascent security forces, undermining their ability to defend the country as the U.S. ends combat operations in the country.

In addition to daily attacks on Iraq’s police and army, the number of criminal attacks has also grown in the past weeks.

In Baghdad in Wednesday, a bomb exploded near a bank in the central district of Karradah, wounding six people waiting to collect their pensions, police said.

A number of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Recent bank robberies and attacks on gold jewelers and money changers across Iraq have raised suspicions al-Qaida-linked insurgents are seeking to replenish their coffers for attacks

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