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Bus Terminal Bombing Kills Seven In Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A bomb attached to a minibus has killed seven people and wounded 24 others at a busy bus terminal in southern Baghdad, police said.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq in the past year, and the civilian death toll in May was the lowest since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. But Iraqi and U.S. forces have yet to stamp out a stubborn insurgency.

The blast took place in the mainly Shi'ite Muslim neighbourhood of Abu Dsheer. Shi'ite areas are often targeted by Sunni Islamist groups who consider Shi'a heretics.

Such bombings cast doubt on the Iraqi security forces' ability to stand alone as U.S. combat troops prepare to withdraw from Iraqi cities by the end of this month.

Four policemen were killed in separate attacks late on June 7, the Iraqi authorities.

Two were killed and a third wounded by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, then two more died in an ambush in Mosul, 390 kilometers north of the capital.

Analysts say the violence may increase ahead of national elections scheduled for January 2010, which could pit Shi'ite groups against each other.

All U.S. personnel are due to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 under a security pact between Washington and Baghdad that came into effect at the start of this year.