- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BAGHDAD A slew of bombings targeted Iraqi police in Baghdad on Wednesday morning, including blasts by two suicide bombers who tried to ram their vehicles through police-station gates.

Iraqi officials said 25 people died and dozens more were wounded in the carnage.

The blasts were aimed at the police, generally considered to be the weakest section of the country’s security forces, and emphasized that despite Iraq’s security gains, long-term stability in the country is still elusive.

U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of this year, and Wednesday’s multipronged attack is likely to add to concerns about whether the Iraqi security forces, especially the police, are able to effectively secure the city.

Just days ago, authorities said the Iraqi army was delaying a scheduled pullout from the cities over concerns about whether the police were ready to provide security.

In the southern Karradah neighborhood, 13 people died and 25 were wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a police station, Baghdad police officials said.

Smoke could be seen rising from the blast site as ambulances rushed to the scene, their sirens wailing. Iraqi army helicopters circled overhead.

In the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Hurriyah, a suicide car bomber targeted a police station and killed nine people, two Baghdad police officials said. Twenty-seven people were wounded in that blast.

Officials said the suicide bombers both exploded their vehicles at the outer entrances into the police stations.

“The scene was horrific,” said Salim Ghadban, who was having breakfast near the Karradah police station when he heard a loud explosion.

“We saw terrified people, some injured, running in our direction, and we rushed to the attacked police station and saw burned bodies and charred cars,” he said. “We helped cover the burned bodies until the ambulances arrived.”

The attack in Hurriyah was especially remarkable because the neighborhood is a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It is almost entirely surrounded by blast walls, and access is tightly restricted through four entrances manned by the Iraqi army.

Also, a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in western Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding another five, police officials said.

A parked car bomb exploded in western Baghdad targeting a police patrol but killed one civilian and injured five people. Three people also were injured by a roadside bomb that hit a police patrol in western Baghdad.

The damage could have been even worse and more widespread. Iraqi police defused two car bombs in areas in southwestern and northern Baghdad, and a roadside bomb was discovered on the road leading to the police academy in eastern Baghdad, a Baghdad police official said.

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