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Car Bombing, Shooting Kill Police and Civilians in Iraq


Iraqi police say a car bomb blast in Baghdad Tuesday killed five people, including several police commandos.

Officials say at least five other people were wounded in the blast that was apparently aimed at a police patrol.

Separately, three Iraqi workers were killed and four others injured in a drive-by shooting near the city of Baquba, northeast of the capital.

The attacks took place a day after Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraqi forces will take over security from foreign troops in most of the country by the end of this year.

Speaking Monday at a news conference in Baghdad with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Maliki said the security handover will start next month in two provinces.

Mr. Blair said Iraq's new unity government is a new beginning for the country. He says the conflict in Iraq was longer and harder than expected.

Meanwhile, President Bush said the formation of Iraq's new government marks a victory for the cause of freedom in the Middle East. He also defended his policies in Iraq

Mr. Bush said he understands why some people question the U.S. strategy in Iraq. But he added they must understand there is a global war against a totalitarian group of terrorists, and the struggle in Iraq is key to defeating them.

Separately, the White House says Mr. Bush spoke by phone Monday with Jordan's King Abdullah about the new government in Iraq. Details of their conversation were not disclosed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.