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Bomb Kills At Least 13, Wounds 45 In Baghdad


The June 26 bombing, the latest in a spate of attacks ahead of a planned U.S. withdrawal, struck a Baghdad motorbike bazaar.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A bomb has killed at least 13 people and wounded 45 when it exploded in an industrial area of Baghdad, just four days before U.S. combat troops are due to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns.

Police said the bomb was planted on a motorbike in a market specializing in motorcycles in Bab al-Sheikh in central Baghdad.

A spate of bombings in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq raises questions about the abilities of Iraqi security forces, whose ranks have swelled since they were disbanded after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, to combat a stubborn insurgency.

On June 25, 78 people were killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, just days after a truck bomb killed 73 people in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Such attacks have prompted angry responses from Iraqis who blame local security forces for failing to protect them.

Violence is a far cry from what it was during the height of sectarian killing in 2006-07, but Iraq's untested forces and fractious political class still face major security challenges.

The U.S. withdrawal from urban combat posts by June 30 is a milestone in the plan to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq in August 2010 and pull out all U.S. soldiers by 2012.

More than six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted, and as the Obama administration looks increasingly towards the war in Afghanistan, the United States still has about 130,000 troops in Iraq.