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Iraqi PM: Terrorists Losing Capability Despite Recent Attacks

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says terrorists are losing in Iraq, despite a recent spike of violence including two suicide attacks this week that killed more than 60 people.

During a visit to Australia Thursday, Mr. Maliki also said that Iraqi forces will be able to maintain security after U.S. troops withdraw.

A suicide bombing Sunday outside a Baghdad police academy killed 28 people. On Tuesday, another suicide bomber west of Baghdad killed 33 people - including tribal leaders, security officials and journalists who had been attending a reconciliation conference in Abu Ghraib.

A group called the Islamic State of Iraq, which is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility Thursday for the Abu Ghraib attack.

Authorities say separate attacks Thursday killed two police officers in the northern city of Mosul. Unknown gunmen shot dead one officer in front of his home. A roadside bombing killed another.

Even though overall violence has declined in Iraq in recent months, the violence this week has raised fears of renewed instability.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday the recent suicide bombings in Iraq have not changed the U.S. plan to withdraw combat forces from Iraq.

During his Australia visit, Mr. Maliki met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other officials in the capital, Canberra.

Australia withdrew its 550 combat troops from Iraq last year and is expected to pull out its remaining force, which numbers more than 100, in the near future.

Mr. Rudd said the relationship between the two countries is moving from a military focus to a more broad-based engagement that will strengthen economic ties.

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