BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 were wounded in a string of explosions with car bombs, IEDs and a suicide attack that shook the Iraqi capital Baghdad starting in the very early hours Sunday, police said.
Seven of those killed were policemen, police said.
The assault on targets around the Iraqi capital, presumably the work of Al Qaida's Iraqi affiliate, took place over a period of two hours and entailed the use of 12 improvised explosive devices, three car bombs and one suicide attacker.
It raises again the question of whether a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of 2011 will open the way for a vast increase in extremist violence. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has called for a national debate on whether to ask some U.S combat to remain after December 31.
The biggest single attack took place north of Baghdad near the Taji camp when a U.S. military convoy was targeted by a car bomb. It was not immediately known if there were any American casualties.
When Iraqi police patrols arrived at the scene of the explosion, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up, killing seven policemen and wounding another 10. Police said the final number of casualties may increase because of the serious injuries of many police.
Five of the attacks directly targeted the Iraqi security forces.
The first attack targeted a headquarters of the federal police in the Amil neighborhood, west of Baghdad when insurgents planted four IEDs and a car bomb.
Two of the attacks targeted the civilians in Sadr city, the stronghold of the supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and one of the explosions targeted the convoy of a director in the in the interior ministry.
The attacks appeared to be the latest in a series targeting high ranking officers in the interior ministry.
(Hammoudi is a McClatchy special correspondent)
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