61 killed in Iraq attacks (Fourth Lead)

August 25th, 2010 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Aug 25 (DPA) At least 61 people were killed and more than 180 injured in a series of attacks across Iraq Wednesday, mainly bomb blasts targeting police stations.
A member of parliament for the Iraqiya List, a party headed by former premier Iyad al-Allawi, called for an emergency session of parliament in response to the blasts, which went off in 10 cities.

“The explosions today represent a major crisis in regards to security,” Falah Hassan Zaidan al-Haybi told DPA.

He said Iraqi government forces were not ready to take over security of the country, as US combat operations come to an end next week, amid assurances from Washington that the police were up to the task of protecting citizens.

The largest single attack of the day saw at least 20 policemen killed and 90 injured in the city of Kut, 170 km northeast of Baghdad, when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a police station.

In Baghdad, at least 14 people were killed and 42 injured when two car bombs exploded in different parts of the capital. Witnesses said four policemen were among the dead.

“Despite certain achievements, Iraqi security forces have not reached the degree of self-sufficiency in terms of arms and training,” military spokesperson Qasim Atta said.

Al-Haybi and other members of his party said insurgents were taking advantage of the political deadlock and growing frustration, as there is no clear central government in Iraq since the March 7 elections failed to produce an outright winner and coalition talks are stalled.

Qais Shadha al-Jibouri, a member of the Iraqiya List, escaped an assassination attempt in eastern Baghdad but a guard was hurt in the attack, the party reported.

Seven people were killed and 25 injured in another car bombing at a market in Karbala, an official said. The blast occurred near a police station in the city, which lies some 110 km south of Baghdad.

Other parts of Iraq saw smaller scale but still deadly bombings.

In Fallujah and Ramadi, major cities in the western Anbar province, at least eight people, including two children, died in several bomb attacks.

The area, once an Islamist militant stronghold, had experienced a period of calm but this year was again seeing a spike in violence.

The northern parts of the country also experienced attacks on security forces, with police stations and checkpoints in Baquba, Kirkuk, Mosul and Tikrit all sustaining lethal bombings and shootings. Police officers’ homes were also blown up and destroyed.

In Hilla, south of Baghdad, a Shiite shrine was attacked by a bomb, leaving one person injured, and Basra also saw 11 injured in a bomb blast.

The strength of US troops in Iraq has now fallen below 50,000, the lowest level since the 2003 invasion. Combat operations are officially set to conclude at the end of this month with all US combat soldiers having already left the country last week. A full withdrawal is scheduled for 2011.

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