Insurgents Bombing As U.S. Ends Combat Mission In Iraq
Bombers and gunmen killed at least 56 Iraqis in more than two dozen attacks across the country Wednesday, mostly targeting security forces and rekindling memories of the days when insurgents ruled the streets. The attacks made August the deadliest month for Iraqi policemen and soldiers in two years, and came a day after the U.S. declared the number of U.S. troops had fallen to fewer than 50,000. The attacks have shaken confidence in Iraq’s security forces as they prepare to take over from the U.S., which officially ends its combat mission here on Aug. 31. Obama Early Troop Removal
U.S. commanders and the caretaker government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly have blamed the attacks on a hodge-podge of insurgent groups, including extremist groups linked to al Qaeda and, separately, to Iran. The insurgents hope to regain the initiative once the Americans are gone. Powerful blasts targeting security forces struck where they are supposed to be the safest, turning police stations into rubble and bringing down concrete walls erected to protect them from insurgents.
A series of high-profile attacks that started in the summer of 2009 and have struck Baghdad and other cities ever since—at times killing more than 100 people in a single day. The targets often have been symbols of the state: government buildings, army installations and police officers, including traffic police. At least 265 security personnel — Iraqi military, police and police recruits, and bodyguards — have been killed from June through August, compared to 180 killed in the previous five months, according to an Associated Press count.
The deadliest attack came in Kut, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber blew up a car inside a security barrier between a police station and the provincial government’s headquarters. Police and hospital officials said 19 people died, 15 of them policemen. An estimated 90 people were wounded.
In northern Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in a parking lot behind a police station, killing 15 people, including six policemen. Police and hospital officials said another 58 were wounded in the explosion that left a crater three yards (meters) wide and trapped people beneath the rubble of felled houses nearby.
A police officer was also killed in Mosul where gunmen attacked a police checkpoint and one person was killed in the city of Beiji, in Iraq’s northern province of Salahuddin.
In August, nearly 5 Iraqi security personnel on average have been killed every day so far.
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