Page last updated at 20:09 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 21:09 UK

Many killed in Iraqi bomb attacks

US and Iraqi soldiers on patrol in Mosul
Mosul has become a centre for al-Qaeda fighters displaced from Baghdad

At least 38 people have been killed in two bombings in Iraq.

The first occurred in the town of Karma, west of Baghdad, where a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a local council meeting, killing at least 20.

Three US marines and two interpreters were among those who died in the attack - the third against a local branch of the Iraqi government in a week.

Hours later, a car bomb in the northern city of Mosul left at least 18 people dead and dozens wounded.

In Karma, police said the bomber entered the municipal government building through a back door, but it was unclear how he managed to evade security for the meeting.

It has gotten quieter, but that doesn't make these losses any easier.
US military spokesman Steve Stover

Those killed are reported to include the head of the local tribal council, and members of a neighbourhood patrol force opposed to al-Qaeda.

Sunni tribal leaders in Karma and elsewhere have turned against militants as part of the so-called Awakening movement.

US losses

US authorities they they suspect al-Qaeda in Iraq was behind the Karma bombing.


The attack comes days before US troops are to hand over security responsibility to Iraqis in Anbar.

The number of American troops killed in Iraq this week has now risen to 11 after the US military said one soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad earlier on Thursday.

The soldier was killed by what is known as an explosively formed penetrator - a powerful bomb believed to come from Iran and which is frequently used by Shia extremists.

"The level of violence has dropped dramatically," said US military spokesman Lt Col Steve Stover.

"It has gotten quieter, but that doesn't make these losses any easier."

But he said militants "are constantly thinking of ways that they can undermine us, undermine the government, undermine the Iraqi security forces".

The figure for US military dead is 26 so far in June - less than the average last year but more than the 19 who died in May, the lowest monthly tally since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

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