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Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 19:57 UK

Car bomb kills 12 in north Iraq

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At least 12 people have been killed and 30 others wounded in a car bombing at a market in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, Iraqi officials have said.

The attack targeted afternoon shoppers in the town, about 420km (260 miles) north-west of the capital, Baghdad.

It came a day after a series of attacks north of Baghdad killed some 40 people.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has said he expects to be able to recommend further troop reductions in Iraq within months.

Adm Michael Mullen told a Pentagon news conference: "I won't go so far as to say that progress in Iraq from a military perspective has reached a tipping point or is reversible - it has not, and it is not."

But he said that during a recent visit, he had been impressed with the scale of security gains he had witnessed, both in the Sadr City district of Baghdad and in the northern city of Mosul.

"But security is unquestionably and remarkably better," he added.

"Indeed, if these trends continue I expect to be able early this fall to recommend to the secretary and the president further troop reductions."



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