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At Least Five Killed in Iraq Explosions


Several bomb attacks killed at least five people in and around Baghdad. The violence occurred as Iraqi leaders wrangle over formation of a new government, three months after an inconclusive parliamentary election.

The explosion outside a Baghdad police station killed a number of officers and caused more than a dozen casualties.

Sabah Hassan, an eyewitness, said he saw a suicide bomber detonate his vehicle as it approached a police patrol that was heading towards the station.

A second eyewitness, Ahmad Abbas, who was wounded in the explosion, says police sealed off the area and began firing into the air to prevent anyone from coming near.

Iraqi police were also targeted by a roadside bomb in Baghdad's Zaytouna neighborhood, wounding four policemen and a bystander. Outside of Baghdad, in Mahmoudiya, another roadside bomb caused more than half a dozen casualties near a council building.

Insurgents have focused their attacks on Iraqi security forces in recent months, in the lead-up to the withdrawal of most U.S. forces this August.

A Middle East analyst at King's College London, James Denselow, says the stalled political process in Iraq, as well as the government's recent decision to disarm the Sunni-Arab paramilitary Sahwa group, could be fueling the violence:

"You have obviously got this stalled political process, that is probably going to head towards some kind of national unity, consensus, coalition, led by at least (outgoing Prime Minister Nouri) Maliki's grouping, if not Maliki himself. But, the two things that I think are particularly interesting right now is the assassination of a second Iraqiya M.P. in the north and the disarming of the Sons of Iraq - the Sahwa Brigades - by decree, which from an outsider's perspective is insanity, because a lot of the violence in the last year has been associated with the [inability] of the central government to incorporate the 20,000 or so into the security forces and the 60,000 or so into the Iraqi ministries," he said.

Denselow argues the Iraqi insurgency was checked for the most part after the U.S. initiated the surge program, buying off many Sunni Arab insurgents and incorporating them into the Sons of Iraq or Sahwa.

"If the Iraqi government suddenly stops paying them, or actually disarms them," he says, "you are definitely going to have a reaction, because these groups are not going to go quietly, as we have seen before."

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