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Violence Rocks Iraq as US Prepares to Withdraw from Cities

Iraqi officials say an explosion tore through a bus station in Baghdad Thursday, killing two people and wounding at least 30 others. It is the latest violence to hit Iraq just days before U.S. forces withdraw from urban areas.

At least four police officers were killed in attacks in Fallujah, west of the capital.

And in eastern Baghdad, the U.S military said nine U.S. soldiers were wounded Thursday when two roadside bombs hit their patrol.

Meantime, funerals were held for victims of Wednesday's bombing at a market in Baghdad's mostly Shi'ite district of Sadr City. That blast killed at least 76 people and wounded more than 160.

Residents at the scene of the explosion blamed Iraqi security forces for not doing enough to prevent the violence.

Both U.S. and Iraqi leaders say a rise in violence is expected as U.S. combat forces prepare to pull out from Iraqi cities.

U.S. Brigadier General Steve Lanza said Wednesday only a small number of U.S. troops will remain in Iraqi cities after a June 30 deadline, but that the exact number was still being worked on.

Hours before Wednesday's Sadr City bombing, the U.S. military spokesman also noted a declining trend in the number of high-profile attacks in Iraq, with only 10 so far this month, compared to 16 in May and 28 in April.

Earlier this week, a series of attacks in Iraq left dozens dead, and a truck bombing last Saturday near Kirkuk killed almost 70 people.

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