At Least 60 Dead in Latest Iraq Bombings

Attacks come as U.S. prepares to pull out of major cities

BAGHDAD — Suicide bombers struck Thursday in Baghdad and a northern city, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens more in a burst of violence only weeks before U.S. combat troops are due to leave Iraqi cities.

The attacks came a day after a car bomb exploded near a group of restaurants in a Shiite neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring more than 70. Attacks in civilian areas appear to be carried out by extremists seeking to rekindle sectarian warfare.

The deadliest blast Thursday occurred in Baghdad's southern district of Dora when a suicide bomber attacked an American foot patrol in an outdoor market. Police and hospital officials said 12 civilians were killed.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity and had no word on U.S. casualties.

Earlier Thursday, another suicide bomber killed seven U.S.-backed Sunni paramilitaries as they waited in a line to receive salaries at an Iraqi military base in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Police Maj. Salam Zankana said the victims in the Kirkuk attack were members of the local paramilitary Awakening Council — Sunnis who turned against the insurgents and help provide security. Eight others were wounded, he said.

Awakening Council members, also known as Sons of Iraq, have been frequently targeted by al-Qaida and other Sunni groups still fighting U.S. troops and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

Also Thursday, a bomb exploded inside a police station in western Baghdad, killing three policemen and wounding 19 others, an Iraqi police official said. The bomb was hidden inside a trash can and carried into the station, he added.

The failure to stop the bombings adds pressure on the Iraqi government to demonstrate that it can meet security ahead of a June 30 deadline for the U.S. to remove all combat forces from Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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