- Associated Press - Sunday, August 8, 2010

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bomber struck a police patrol west of Baghdad on Sunday and killed eight people, most of them civilians standing in line outside a post office to collect a monthly state stipend for some of the country’s poorest, police officials said.

The bombing in Ramadi, 70 miles west of the Iraqi capital, wounded 23, also mostly civilians in the line. It followed another attack in the southern city of Basra, where explosions tore through a market and killed 43 people, police and health officials said. Those blasts Saturday evening wounded about 185.

Violence across Iraq has spiked in the past month as the United States moved ahead with a major drawdown of its troops to be completed by the end of August, when only 50,000 will remain in the country. The upswing in violence and the U.S. pullout have raised concerns about whether Iraqi security forces are up to the job of keeping militants from destabilizing the country further at a time of political uncertainty over who will form the next government.

Police said the blast in Ramadi took place between a petrol station and an abandoned cinema in the city center. Of the eight killed, two were policemen, they said.

Initial reports from Ramadi said the blast was caused by a parked-car bomb. Conflicting reports on casualties and the causes of explosions are not uncommon in Iraq in the immediate aftermath of attacks.

In Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, police officials and a member of the city’s security committee said the blasts were caused by a car bomb followed by another bomb placed next to a power generator. The second blast ignited a fuel tank, according to the officials and Ali al-Maliki, the security official.

In other violence Sunday, a car bomb exploded near a school and a cluster of stores in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killing two people and injuring four.

Violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq since 2008, but insurgent attacks remain a daily occurrence, especially in Baghdad, preventing the city from regaining a semblance of normalcy seven years after the insurgency broke out.


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