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Explosions, Attacks Kill At Least 17 In Iraq

Reports quoting security officials say two bombs have exploded in the city of Kut in southern Iraq, killing at least 12 people and wounding 31.

The explosions, a roadside bomb and a car bomb, struck a market in the center of city, some 160 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Separately, suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed five Iraqi soldiers at a western Baghdad checkpoint and planted the terror group's black banner before fleeing the scene. It was the second time in a week that Al-Qaeda's flag has appeared at the scene of an attack.

The latest violence came amid an enduring political vacuum nearly five months after Iraq's parliamentary elections failed to produce a clear winner.

On August 2, President Barack Obama reaffirmed Washington's intention to remove combat U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the month.

compiled from agency reports