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Baghdad bus bombing kills 7

A bombing at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday killed at least seven people and wounded 31 others, police said, the latest in a series of deadly attacks ahead of a United States military withdrawal from Iraq next week.

Another three bombs and a mortar killed two more people around the capital. The US military said nine American soldiers were wounded in two roadside bomb attacks against a convoy in eastern Baghdad. The attacks were the latest in a series of deadly bombings mostly targeting Shiites in the past week.

The bombing occurred when a parked car bomb exploded inside a bus station in Baiyaa district, police officials said.

The bombings came as police sifted through the bloody debris of an explosion late on Wednesday that killed 78 people, trying to determine how such a big bomb was smuggled into Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City.

US and Iraqi officials have warned that more bombs and attacks are to be expected in the days before and after US soldiers complete a withdrawal from cities and major urban centers on Tuesday. Most of the attacks so far have targeted Shiites or communities with predominantly Shiite populations.

The killing spree began on June 20 with a massive truck bomb that killed 82 people in a mainly Shiite town near the northern city of Kirkuk, which was the deadliest bombing so far this year.

More than 160 people have died in bombings over the past five days.

In a statement, US Ambassador Christopher Hill and top military commander General Ray Odierno condemned the Sadr City bombing and said that "we deplore the senseless deaths and injuries of innocent Iraqi citizens."

Besides killing 78, the attack on Wednesday in Sadr City also wounded 143 people. It was the deadliest in more than two years in the area, which is heavily controlled and where people entering the district have to pass through numerous checkpoints manned by Iraqi army and police.

According to Iraqi Army Major General Qassim Atta, the bomb was built using about 200 kilograms of high explosives packed with steel bearing and other metal objects.

The bomb was apparently loaded on a motorcycle pulling a cart.


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