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Iraqi Officials: Bombs Kill At Least 54 in Baghdad

By VOA News
06 March 2008

Iraqi security officials say at least 54 people have been killed and more than 120 wounded in two roadside bombings in Baghdad.

Police say the bombings went off within minutes of each other Thursday, destroying shops and cars in the Karrada neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

The U.S. military says the bombings took place at around 7:00 p.m. local time.

A senior U.S. military officer in Baghdad, Colonel Allen Batschelet, described the attack in a statement as a senseless act of violence directed against the Iraqi people.

The attacks occurred despite an overall drop in violence since the U.S. military sent 30,000 extra troops to Iraq last year.

The U.S. military said today some 2,000 American soldiers are being withdrawn from Iraq and will not be replaced. The soldiers were part of the extra troops sent to Iraq last year to help stop the sectarian violence that had the country on the verge of civil war.

The U.S. military also announced today that coalition forces killed four terrorists and detained 26 others in raids targeting al-Qaida fighters in central and northern Iraq.

The military also says coalition forces detained four suspects linked to a criminal militia that was not honoring a cease-fire pledge by radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Last month, Sadr extended for another six months a cease-fire between his Mahdi army militia and U.S. and Iraqi forces. U.S. officials say the cease-fire has been key to reducing violence in Iraq by 60 percent since June.

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