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17 Iraqis, 2 U.S. soldiers killed in wave of bombings

Attacks in central Iraq, most of them in the Baghdad area, highlight the tenuous security situation as militant groups continue to strike ahead of the planned U.S. withdrawal by year's end.

May 23, 2011|By Ned Parker and Raheem Salman, Los Angeles Times
  • Boys sit near the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad.
Boys sit near the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad. (Karim Kadim, Associated…)

Reporting from Baghdad — At least 17 Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday in a wave of explosions, mostly in Baghdad, including a suicide bombing attack against police, security sources and the U.S. military said.

The bloodshed highlighted the tenuous situation around Baghdad, where assassinations and other attacks still occur almost daily. It also drew attention to Sunni Arab and Shiite militants' continuing efforts to kill American troops, who are scheduled to leave at the end of the year. There has been an increase in the shelling around U.S. military bases within Baghdad's airport grounds as well as the American Embassy compound in the fortified Green Zone enclave.

The U.S. military declined to provide details on the attack that killed the two soldiers in central Iraq, which includes the Baghdad area. The deaths brought to at least 4,454 the number of Americans killed since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to the latest figures on the website icasualties.org, which tracks military deaths.

Eleven American troops were killed last month, the deadliest since November 2009.

On Sunday morning, a car bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy near Taji, the site of a major military installation just north of Baghdad, but it caused no damage to the American vehicles, according to an Iraqi security official. When police gathered at the blast site, a suicide bomber approached and blew himself up, killing 10 police officers and wounding 16 people, the official said.

The attack was the third major bombing against police this month, following Thursday's double bombing outside police headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk that killed at least 27 people and a separate attack on police offices in Hillah, south of Baghdad, that left 16 dead.

The attacks were a reminder that Iraq remains without a defense or interior minister five months after a coalition government was sworn in.

The wave of explosions included a series of blasts during Baghdad's morning rush hour that left six people dead, security officials said. A car bomb in the western neighborhood of Amil killed a policeman on patrol and wounded three of his colleagues. Four civilians were killed and 15 wounded in four roadside explosions in the western Shiite neighborhood of Bayaa. A car bombing injured nine people in the eastern district of Sadr City, and a roadside bomb nearby killed a civilian.

The motorcade of a brigadier general with the Interior Ministry was hit by a bomb, killing one civilian and wounding three others. A second attack on the U.S. military was reported Sunday evening, with a security official saying a roadside bomb had struck a Humvee outside the neighborhood of Amiriya in west Baghdad.

People expressed frustration over the bombings and strikes against Iraq's police. "The security forces are targeted more because they represent the security situation and they are responsible for it," said Hassan Kabi, a Sadr City resident. "Hitting them is a message to all that the situation is not good."

ned.parker@latimes.com

Salman is a staff writer in The Times' Baghdad bureau.

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