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Blasts Kill 14 Iraqi Youths at Baghdad Football Fields


Iraqi authorities say two bombs hidden at a football (soccer) field in Baghdad killed at least 11 young people, and wounded 14 others.

Police say mortar rounds also landed on another playing field in the capital, killing three children. And the U.S. military says a Marine and a soldier died Wednesday in al-Anbar province

Meanwhile, Iraq's President Jalal Talabani is predicting Iraqi forces will take over security for all of the country by the end of this year. He says he is optimistic Iraq will defeat terrorism this year. Currently, U.S. and British forces are responsible for security in most of Iraq.

U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said "time will tell" whether Mr. Talabani is proved correct. Whitman said Iraqi forces are becoming more capable every week.

In other developments Wednesday, Turkish officials say a Turkish national kidnapped in Iraq in June has been released. Three bombs in Baghdad killed at least three Iraqi civilians, while four died in attacks north of Baghdad. Police also found at least 11 bodies in Baghdad.

Iraq is still investigating a series of explosions in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Tuesday that killed more than 50 Iraqis.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has come under increasing criticism because of its failure to suppress violent attacks.

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