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Iraqi officials: 4 killed in pair of Baghdad bombs


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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say a pair of bombs in downtown Baghdad have killed four people and injured seven.

Police say a roadside bomb exploded around 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upscale and mostly Shiite neighborhood of Karradah, killing two passers-by.

Police who rushed to the scene were hit with a second blast, killing two policemen and wounding three others. Also, four passers-by were wounded.

The casualties were confirmed by a medic at Ibn al-Nafis hospital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Earlier Thursday, bombs in Iraq's northeast Diyala province killed at six security guards and wounded 35 people.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A pair of near-simultaneous bombings killed six security guards Thursday who were waiting in line to pick up their paychecks outside an Iraqi military base, officials said.

At least 35 people were wounded in the double-bombing near Baqouba, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, said Diyala Health Directorate spokesman Faris al-Azawi.

"We are trying our best to deal with this situation," al-Azawi said.

The attack started with a suicide bomber who joined the line of the guards known as Sahwa, and detonated himself around 8 a.m., according to an Interior Ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Two minutes later, a car bomb blew up about 30 feet (meters) away.

The dead all were members of Sahwa, or Awakening Councils — a Sunni militia that sided with U.S. forces against al-Qaida in a major turning point of the war. The Sahwa have since been targeted by insurgents who call them traitors.

An official at the Baqouba general hospital said at least five soldiers were among the wounded.

Violence has dropped dramatically across Iraq, but deadly bombings and shootings still happen nearly every day. Some officials have warned of an increase in attacks as the U.S. withdraws all of its 33,000 troops from Iraq by the end of the year.

An Iraqi army intelligence officer said authorities have reliable intelligence that al-Qaida sleeper cells plan to launch attacks in Baqouba and across Diyala province as U.S. troops withdraw and afterward. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is confidential, said al-Qaida aims to show Iraqis it is still able to strike.

Officials long have said that al-Qaida's current top aim in Iraq is to destabilize the Shiite-led government. Among the terror group's top targets have been government and security officials.

Thursday's attacks follow a triple bombing late Wednesday in the southern oil port city of Basra, which killed seven people sitting at nearby cafes.

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