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Attacks in Iraq leave 40 dead

11 killed, 9 hurt as bomb explodes outside mosque

BAGHDAD -- A bomb went off in a motorcycle parked in the courtyard of a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad, killing 11 people and wounding at least nine -- the deadliest of the attacks across Iraq that claimed 40 lives yesterday.

The bombing in the mixed Tunis neighborhood bore the markings of the sectarian violence tormenting Iraq. The mosque is near the Sunni Arab stronghold of Azamiyah, and Lieutenant Colonel Falah al-Mohammedawi of the Interior Ministry said the explosion occurred a couple of hours before the 11 p.m. Baghdad curfew.

An hour later, police said a roadside bomb exploded outside a bakery in southeast Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 12. Five people were killed earlier in the day when a car bomb exploded at the entrance to a police station in Baghdad's biggest Shi'ite neighborhood.

Dozens of Iraqis were killed nearly every day in the weeks leading up to formation of the new unity government, which many hope will eventually provide Iraq with enough security to allow the withdrawal of US troops.

The swearing in Saturday of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government again brought to the forefront the possibility that some foreign troops could start packing for home within months, an idea quickly set aside by Washington.

In Washington, President Bush said he would make a fresh assessment about Iraq's needs for US military help now that a new government has taken office in Baghdad. Bush also said Americans should not judge what's happening in Iraq solely on the basis of the unrelenting violence.

``We haven't gotten to the point yet where the new government is sitting down with our commanders to come up with a joint way forward," Bush said. ``However, having said that, this is a new chapter in our relationship. In other words, we're now able to take a new assessment about the needs necessary for the Iraqis."

Maliki reportedly spent much of the day at his office in the heavily fortified Green Zone meeting with advisers and discussing candidates for the defense and interior ministries -- key posts that did not get permanent appointments when the government took office.

Parliament also did not convene as deputies asked for time to examine the nuts and bolts of running the chamber and the procedures for setting up committees. They decided to convene the 275-member body Sunday. Maliki has also said he would need about a week to choose men for the two security posts, and they would need to be sworn in by parliament.

Sunni Arabs have demanded the Defense Ministry to counterbalance the Shi'ite-run Interior Ministry, and Maliki has said the two posts are so important for the stability of Iraq that he wants to appoint men that would be acceptable to all its communities.

At least 3,886 Iraqis have been killed so far this year in war-related violence and at least 4,239 have been wounded, based on an Associated Press count that may not be complete because the reporting process does not cover the entire country. During May, at least 691 Iraqis were killed. These figures include Iraqi civilians and security forces, but do not include insurgent deaths.

Maliki has vowed to use maximum force against those responsible for the violence, which continued unabated yesterday.

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