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Dozens killed as bombings rock Iraq

BAGHDAD — As many as 38 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded, including four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi general, in multiple attacks across Iraq on Monday, including one in which a man detonated a suicide vest near a convoy of coalition vehicles in Mosul, killing up to 16.

The attacks occurred in a week thick with political tension over coming Iraqi elections and a decision last week by the Parliament to endorse a U.S.-Iraq security agreement that calls for the withdrawal of American forces by the beginning of 2012.

The wave of violence also occurred as U.S. combat deaths for November dropped to one of the lowest monthly levels of the war — eight — a sign that extremists are focusing on Iraqi forces as the United States scales down its battlefield role. Insurgents appear to be targeting Iraqi forces who are more vulnerable than the heavily armored U.S. troops even as the Iraqis try to take over security so the Americans can go home.

In Baghdad, the bloodiest attack began when a suicide bomber — apparently a teenage boy — detonated an explosives vest packed with ball-bearings as recruits were lined up to be searched at an entrance to the heavily fortified Baghdad police academy. Within minutes, a car parked about 150 yards away exploded, apparently aimed at those responding to the initial blast, the U.S. military said.

At least 16 people — five police officers and 11 recruits — were killed and nearly 50 wounded, according to police and hospital officials.

In another attack, Gen. Mudhhir al-Mawla, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was injured when a bomb exploded near his Baghdad home. It killed three others.

In Mosul, Americans reported eight deaths and 36 injuries in the suicide attack, excluding the attacker. U.S. officials said four soldiers were wounded. Iraqis reported 16 dead and 37 wounded in that assault.

Casualty reports from Iraqi and U.S. military sources differed in each incident, common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Iraq.

Farewell wish

A South Korean general offered a wish for peace in Iraq on Monday as his troops ended a five-year reconstruction mission in the country, the latest departure from the dwindling U.S.-led coalition. The first South Korean contingent was sent to Irbil in September 2004 with 3,600 troops. About 520 troops will be part of this month's withdrawal.

They are among troops from 13 countries being sent home before the Dec. 31 expiration of the U.N. mandate that authorized military operations in Iraq. Besides the Americans, the only coalition troops to remain in Iraq after the mandate expires will be from the United States' biggest ally, Britain, as well as Australia, El Salvador, Estonia and Romania.

Dozens killed as bombings rock Iraq 12/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:44am]
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