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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.

Iraqi police and soldiers have always been prime targets for insurgents trying to destabilize the country and intimidate new recruits from joining the security services.

Since Iraq‘s March 7 elections failed to produce a clear winner, U.S. officials have feared that competing political factions could stir up widespread violence.

Iraqi leaders have failed to end the political impasse.

Iraqi and U.S. officials alike acknowledge growing frustration throughout the nation nearly six months after the vote and say that politically motivated violence could undo security gains made over the past few years.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts but they bore the hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq, which is known to use car bombs and suicide attackers.

For ordinary Iraqis and policemen on the front line, the blasts brought back memories of the dark days of 2006 and 2007 when insurgents, not Iraqi police or soldiers, reigned.

“These attacks are taking us back to when the terrorists had the ability to launch many attacks in different areas,” said Taha Ahmed al-Ajili, a 34-year-old policeman in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown just north of Baghdad.

In Tikrit, a roadside bomb killed a policeman on patrol and wounded another.

Al-Ajili said he feared people would blame what he described as poorly armed policemen and soldiers for the lack of security. He said the security forces are doing their best.

Five others, including an Iraqi soldier and a police officer, were killed in small bursts of violence in Baghdad.

From the northern Iraqi city of Mosul to the holy Shiite shrine town of Karbala to the oil city of Basra, scattered bombings and shootings killed an additional 14 people — including 6 security forces — and injured scores more.

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