BAGHDAD — Bombings and shootings killed more than 30 people across Iraq on Monday, including high school students on their way to final exams, part of a new round of violence ahead of next week's deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from urban areas.
The attacks pushed the three-day Iraqi death toll over 100, shattering a recent lull and adding fresh doubt about the ability of government forces to protect people without U.S. soldiers by their sides. U.S. combat troops have already begun moving from inner-city outposts to large bases outside Baghdad and other cities.
Overall levels of violence remain low, but Iraqi officials have warned that militants will probably carry out more attacks to erode public confidence in the government as the Americans pull out of cities by June 30 — the first step toward a full withdrawal from the country by the end of 2011.
Many Iraqis support the withdrawal time line, outlined in a security pact that took effect this year. But others fear that militants will regroup without the visible presence of U.S. soldiers.
"There aren't enough Iraqi army and police, and they're ill-equipped to confront the terrorists," said Abdul-Salam Mohammed, a 33-year-old car dealer in the former insurgent stronghold of Baqubah, north of Baghdad.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has acknowledged that more violence is likely but insists that Iraqi forces are ready.
Monday's violence mainly struck Shiite neighborhoods in the Baghdad area, starting with the roadside bombing of a minibus carrying high school students from Sadr City to their final exams.