Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 people killed in spate of bomb attacks in Iraq

at English.xinhuanet.com by Jamal Hashim

BAGHDAD, June 21 (Xinhua) -- A series of bomb attacks swept across Iraq on Tuesday, killing 30 people and wounding some 53 others, amid a wave of escalation of violence in Iraqi cities.

Massive twin car bomb explosions in Iraq's southern central city of Diwaniyah were the latest in a series of high-profile and coordinated bombings that have seemingly shaken Iraqis' confidence in their security forces as the U.S. forces are suppose to completely leave the country by the end of 2011.

The attack occurred in the morning when two booby-trapped cars went off during a shift change of guards at the checkpoint outside the house of Salim Hussein Alwan, the governor of al-Qadsiyah province.

Alwan's house located in the al-Soub al-Sagheer neighborhood in downtown the provincial capital city of Diwaniyah, some 180 km south of Baghdad.

The powerful blasts resulted in the killing of 25 people and the wounding of some 34 others, according to the provincial police reports, which also confirmed that most of the victims were security guards gathering at the site and some other victims were residents inside the neighboring houses.

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Such wave of violence across the country underscores the challenges that the Iraqi security forces are facing as they struggle to restore stability and normalcy in Iraqi cities several months before the departure of all American forces by the end of 2011.

Tuesday's attacks came one day after the Iraqi leading political parties held their first meeting at the residence of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad to discuss the extension of the U.S. troops' presence in the country beyond the end of 2011 deadline.

"The meeting was successful. We discussed the presence of the U. S. troops in details whether to stay or to leave (the country) and whether we need trainers and the number of them," Talabani said after the meeting.

Talabani said that the Iraqi factions agreed on holding another meeting "soon" to take a unified political decision.

Baghdad and Washington are in debate whether the U.S. troops need to extend the presence of its troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011, according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which was signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

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