At least 13 killed in Iraq attacks

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The Independent Online

A string of attacks targeting Iraqi security forces killed 13 people and left scores of others injured today, officials said.

The deadliest attack occurred in north Baghdad, where a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle in a car park behind a police station, killing 11 people, including four policemen and seven civilians. Twenty-one people were wounded in the attack, police and hospital officials said.

There were no claims of responsibility, but the scale and extent of the violence, which comes a day after the number of US troops fell below 50,000, underscored insurgent efforts to show their relevance as the American military presence in Iraq shrinks.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, a car bomb killed one policeman and wounded eight more, while gunmen in west Baghdad shot dead another policeman on patrol. Three policemen were wounded in that attack, police and hospital officials said.

While violence has subsided significantly since the height of the sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, militants continue to target members of Iraq's nascent security forces, undermining their ability to defend the country as the US ends combat operations in the country.

In addition to daily attacks on Iraq's police and army, the number of criminal attacks has also grown in the past weeks.

In Baghdad today, a bomb exploded near a bank in the central district of Karradah, wounding six people waiting to collect their pensions, police said.

Recent bank robberies and attacks on gold jewellers and money changers across Iraq have raised suspicions that al-Qa'ida-linked insurgents are seeking to replenish their coffers for attacks.