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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 19:09 GMT
Iraq's deadliest day since poll
Bomb wreckage in Iraq
After a lull in attacks, there have been a rash of deadly incidents
A string of attacks across Iraq has made it the deadliest day in the country since the 15 December election.

In the worst attack, at least 36 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Shia funeral north of Baghdad. Across Iraq, more than 50 people died.

In Washington, President George Bush said the plan in Iraq was going well.

He said Iraqi forces were improving all the time. "As Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down," he said, touting possible further cuts in US troop levels.

Mr Bush said wide participation in Iraq's election showed the people were buying into the new democracy, and had more confidence in their security.

"The election results served as a real defeat for the rejectionists," he said.

However, after a drop in insurgent attacks around the time of the elections, car bombings and suicide attacks have intensified.

In some of Wednesday's other incidents:

  • At least seven people are killed and 13 injured in an attack on the busy commercial market in Baghdad's southern al-Dawra suburb;

  • Five die and 13 are injured when a car bomb explodes outside a police station in the capital's mainly Shia Kadhimiya district;

  • An official at the oil ministry and his son are shot dead in their car in western Baghdad;

  • Roadblocks are set up in Baghdad as police search for the sister of Interior Minister Bayan Jabr who was kidnapped on Tuesday;

  • At least two civilians are killed in Kirkuk as their car is hit by a roadside bomb intended for a US patrol.

Blood-stained tombstones

In Wednesday's attack on a funeral near Baquba, mourners took cover in a graveyard amid mortar and automatic weapons fire, before a suicide bomber detonated explosives attached to his body.

The funeral was for a bodyguard killed in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on a local leader of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's Islamic Dawa Party.

Injured man in hospital after the Miqdadiya attack
More than 100 mourners were at the funeral that was targeted

The explosion in Miqdadiya, 100km (60 miles) from Baghdad, left tombstones stained with blood and small body parts on the ground, police said.

Police Lt Salam Hussein told the Associated Press that the bombing had been a "terrorist act" aimed at igniting a Shia-Sunni civil war.

The people behind such attacks want to destabilise the country and shed more blood," he added.

The politician targeted in the attack on Tuesday escaped with his life.

Fuel crisis

Shortly after the funeral attack, a convoy of 60 fuel tankers was ambushed, with insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades at the convoy, police said.

One driver was killed and at least 18 vehicles in the escorted convoy were damaged or destroyed in the attack about 40 km (25 miles) north of Baghdad, according to police.

The attack comes as Iraq grapples with a fuel crisis stemming from the closure of a major refinery in the north that has prompted panic buying of fuel and long queues at petrol stations.

The defence ministry said there have been 420 incidents in the last week which have killed or injured more than 200 people, the BBC's Alastair Leithead in Baghdad says.

The violence comes as Shia, Sunni and Kurdish politicians continue efforts to form a coalition governments in the wake of the elections.

But the violence is a reminder of how quickly militants can fill the political vacuum, our correspondent says.

Find out how significant the current attacks are


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