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Wave of Violence in Iraq Kills More Than 50

August 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

JIM LEHRER: Fifty-six Iraqis died in more than two dozen separate attacks across Iraq today.They appeared to be coordinated.Margaret Warner has our report from Iraq.

MARGARET WARNER: The targets of today’s wave of violence?Iraq’s local government and police forces.No one claimed responsibility.The deadliest attack was in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad.A suicide bomber blew up his car inside a security barrier near the town’s local council and police station.Nineteen people died, 15 of them policemen — 90 others were wounded.

Baghdad was also hit hard.In the city’s Qahira neighborhood, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a police station, bringing down the concrete blast wall protecting the building.The explosion killed 15, including six policemen and nine civilians.More than 50 were wounded, many trapped under the rubble of nearby houses.

In central Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded in the Karrada neighborhood, wounding three.Another car bomb went off in the Tobchi area, killing three and wounding a dozen more.Local residents expressed frustration.

ABU MOHAMMED, Iraq (through translator):I don’t know what is going on in the country.Where is the protection?Where are the security troops?The car bomb passed through many military checkpoints.

MARGARET WARNER: In the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, policemen were again the targets, as a car bomb killed one and wounded eight more.

Violent attacks have been on the upswing over the past month in Iraq, as the U.S. approaches an August 31 deadline for a drawdown of combat forces.Just yesterday, the White House announced that U.S. troops in Iraq now number fewer than 50,000, the lowest level since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.