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String of Violence Tests Iraqi Forces

Wednesday's string of attacks in Iraq is part of a surge of violence that has hit the country in the last month as U.S. troops complete a drawdown in their seven-year combat operation.

Increased insurgent attacks on Iraqi security forces and government buildings have killed more than 700 people since the beginning of July. The July death toll of 563 was Iraq's highest since a wave of sectarian violence in May 2008.

These numbers have raised concern about the ability of Iraqi forces to fight insurgents on their own. Recent attempts to strengthen security forces have been hindered by attackers.

One of the most deadly attacks came on August 17 when a suicide bomber targeted an army recruitment center. At least 59 people were killed and 125 wounded.

Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians have been unable to form a new government after inconclusive elections more than five months ago. The main political parties pushed back talks on forming a new government last week, putting a further delay on a resolution of the impasse.

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