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16 Killed in Iraq Bomb Blasts


Iraqi security officials say bomb attacks in the capital and its northern suburbs have killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 26 others.

In the deadliest attack Thursday, officials say six policemen were killed and eight others wounded in the town of Balad Ruz, north of Baghdad. They say the attack targeted the town's police chief, who was unharmed.

Separately, the U.S. military says two American soldiers were killed and two others wounded when a bomb exploded near their vehicle in the northern province of Ninevah on Wednesday.

In other news, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says this week's regional conference on Iraq must focus on the nation's security rather than border tensions with Turkey.

Zebari made the comment at a joint news conference in Baghdad Wednesday with his visiting Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. Zebari said both Iraq and Iran want the upcoming conference in Istanbul to address Iraq's stability and security.

Also Wednesday in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and visiting British Defense Minister Des Browne agreed that Iraqi forces are ready to take over security operations in the southern province of Basra. The two leaders said Iraq is prepared to assume control of the province from British forces in mid-December.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .

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