27 killed in Iraq attacks as U.S. pullback looms

June 23, 2009 - 0:0

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Twenty-seven people were killed on Monday as a spate of attacks hit Iraq just days before U.S. troops are due to pull out of Iraq's cities, security officials said.

Seventy-six people were also wounded in the attacks in Baghdad and other restive parts of the country.
Security and hospital officials said the dead included five Iraqi soldiers, two policemen, three university students on their way to sit their final exams, and a four-year-old child.
In the deadliest single strike, seven people were killed in a car bombing that targeted municipal offices in Abu Ghraib, a town on Baghdad's western outskirts that is notorious as the site of the 2006 scandal over the abuse of prisoners by U.S. jailers.
The attack also wounded 16 people, including three U.S. soldiers.
The predominantly Sunni Arab town was once a bastion of Al-Qaeda, but the militants have since been beaten back by Sunni groups allied with U.S. forces and the Iraqi government.
In Baghdad's sprawling Shiite slum neighborhood of Sadr City, a roadside bomb hit a minibus, killing three students on their way to sit exams. Twelve other students and the driver were wounded in the morning rush-hour attack.
In Diyala province, one of Iraq's most dangerous areas, three Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb that struck their patrol east of the provincial capital Baquba, a military official said.
And in Khalees, also in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, a former Al-Qaeda member who had recently been released from the U.S. prison facility at Camp Bucca was assassinated, the official added.
A woman and a four-year-old child were among three people killed when a bomb targeting a police patrol exploded near a market in Shaab, in northeast Baghdad, hospital officials said. Another 30 people were wounded.
Iraqi police set off a controlled explosion of another bomb in the same area soon afterwards.
In the bustling commercial neighborhood of Karrada in the centre of the capital, five people were killed and 20 wounded in a car bomb blast.
Two Iraqi soldiers on patrol were gunned down by insurgents in the restive northern city of Mosul, while two policemen were also shot dead at a checkpoint in the centre of the city.
In a separate incident, a civilian was killed in central Mosul by gunmen.
The killings were the latest bloody attacks in the runup to the planned pullout of U.S. troops from Iraqi towns and cities by June 30.
Violence has dropped markedly in Iraq in recent months, with May seeing the lowest Iraqi death toll since the 2003 invasion. But attacks remain common, particularly in Baghdad and the main northern city of Mosul.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned earlier this month that insurgents and militiamen were likely to step up their attacks in the coming weeks in a bid to undermine confidence in the Iraqi security forces.
In the deadliest attack for 16 months, 72 people were killed on Saturday in a massive truck bombing in the predominantly Shiite Turkmen town of Taza Kharmatu near the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.
Insurgents also shot dead nine police in Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq's two most populous cities, on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo: Iraqi Army soldiers inspect a modified motorcycle used as a rocket launcher to attack the Green Zone seized by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 22, 2009. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)