Bombings kill three in Baghdad area
BAGHDAD - Bombings killed at least three people in the Baghdad area yesterday in the first significant violence since Iraqi forces assumed responsibility for securing cities after the withdrawal of US combat troops from urban areas earlier this week.
A car bomb near the northern city of Kirkuk also killed one man and wounded six others, police said.
In Baghdad, the violence began when a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi Army patrol, killing a soldier and wounding seven other people, police and hospital officials said.
The attack occurred near a bridge used to access the walled-off Green Zone in central Baghdad.
A car bomb exploded later near a market on the highway south of Baghdad, killing at least two people and wounding 15, according to a police officer at the regional command.
On Tuesday - the official day of the withdrawal, which the Iraqi government dubbed National Sovereignty Day - a car bomb killed more than 30 people in the northern city of Kirkuk.
But yesterday’s bombings were the first deadly attacks recorded in Baghdad after the Iraqis officially assumed responsibility for securing the cities and most of the 130,000 US troops in Iraq pulled back from urban areas to large bases on the outskirts.
Persistent violence has raised concerns about the readiness of Iraqi forces to take over their own security.
At least 447 Iraqi civilians were killed in June, double the toll from the previous month, according to an Associated Press tally.
Major General Mohammed al-Askari, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said his forces were on track to protect the Iraqi people.
“The first phase of implementing the American forces withdrawal agreement has ended peacefully and successfully without any problems,’’ he said at a press conference.