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Iraqi Soldiers, Civilians Killed in Multiple Attacks


Terrorist bombs aimed at Iraq's fledgling security forces struck a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers north of Baghdad, killing at least 23 people, and a Baghdad bank where soldiers were drawing their salaries, killing 14 people and injuring nearly 40 others. The violence is putting additional pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

A massive roadside bomb struck a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers from Baghdad to Mosul, killing or injuring all of the passengers. Officials said the attack happened near the city of Beiji, about 250 kilometers north of Baghdad. A curfew was imposed on the city following the attack.

Also in the north, in the city of Mahmoudiya, a police patrol was the target of a car bomber. Seven people were killed, including at least one policeman.

Police were also the target in the ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk, where a roadside bomb exploded killing two police officers.

In Baghdad, an explosives filled car blew up near a bank where Iraqi security forces were collecting their monthly salaries. Police say both civilians and soldiers were killed and injured in the attack in the mostly Shiite Karradah district.

Once a fashionable shopping and commercial district, the Karradah neighborhood is now the scene of growing sectarian attacks. Last Thursday, a bomb and mortar attack there killed 31 people. And on Monday, gunmen stormed the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and a shop in Karradah kidnapping nearly 30 people.

A witness told Iraqi television that the gunmen wore Iraqi military uniforms. He says they disarmed the guards protecting the building before taking away their hostages. There has been no word on their fate.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has come under increasing criticism because it has failed to curb such attacks and kidnappings. His national reconciliation plan and security crackdown in Baghdad have done nothing to ease the bloodshed.

Mr. Maliki said Monday that his government is continuing its security plan and is focusing a lot of resources on stopping the violence.

Last week, during a visit to Washington, President Bush and Mr. Maliki approved plans to send more U.S. and Iraqi troops into Baghdad to curb the rising sectarian violence that has been escalating since an attack on a Shiite shrine in February.

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