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Mon 1 Dec 2008 03:51 PM

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At least 33 killed in spate of Iraq attacks

UPDATE 1: Attacks target security forces in Baghdad and northern city of Mosul, deadliest day in weeks.

At least 33 people were killed in a spate of attacks targeting security forces in the heart of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul on Monday on what was the deadliest day in Iraq in three weeks.

In the capital, 15 people were killed and dozens wounded - including young police recruits and civilians - when a suicide bomber and a car bomb exploded in quick succession near the Iraqi police academy, the interior ministry said.

Just a few hours later, another 15 people were killed and 30 wounded in a suicide car bombing against a joint US-Iraqi patrol in the centre of Mosul, police said.

The bloodshed came as official Iraqi ministry figures showed that violence across the nation had climbed in November with 340 Iraqis killed.

In the Baghdad strike, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the police academy on Palestine street in the city centre, shortly before a parked car exploded, the interior ministry said.

It said 15 people were killed and 45 wounded, while office of the Baghdad security plan said 11 people lost their lives and 34 were wounded.

The blasts occurred between the academy and the Iraqi water resources ministry on a stretch of road that had been reopened only two months ago after being closed for two years following a suicide attack.

In Mosul, a police officer said a suicide bomber blew his car up in the path of a joint patrol between Iraqi police and the American military in the district of Mosul Al-Jadida.

The interior ministry said the majority of the victims in Mosul - considered by US commanders to be the last urban bastion of Al-Qaeda - were policemen.

It was the deadliest day since Nov. 10, when 28 people were killed, including women and schoolgirls, in a triple bombing in a market in the Sunni Baghdad district of Adhamiyah.

Another three people were killed in a roadside bombing in the Iraqi capital targeting a senior defence ministry general working on a sensitive government national reconciliation project who was wounded on the attack.

"General Mazher al-Mawlah, a defence ministry advisor, was hit by an explosive device when he left his house this morning in the area of Al-Sleikh in north Baghdad," the official told newswire AFP.

"His driver and two passers-by were killed, while 10 other people, including two of his bodyguards, were wounded in the attack."

Ministry spokesman major general Mohammed al-Askari said the bomb attack "directly targeted" Mawlah who is in charge of issues related to Iraqi former officers, and works on prime minister Nuri al-Maliki's national reconciliation project.

Maliki has called on members of former dictator Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party to rejoin the political process and former members of his armed forces to abandon the insurgency and join Iraq's new security forces.

The government says it has now brought hundreds of former Baathists back into public life, while parliament has approved a law rehabilitating even quite senior former party members.

Figures released on Monday by the ministries of interior, health and defence said that 340 people were killed in November - up from 317 the previous month.

The November toll was 297 civilians, 29 police officers and 14 soldiers killed and 728 Iraqis wounded - 600 civilians, 100 police and 28 soldiers - Most of those killed were found in communal graves across the country, the defence ministry said.

Sixty insurgents were also killed, and another 875 were reported arrested.

In October 278 civilians, 21 police and 18 soldiers were killed.

US military losses also saw a slight rise last month, with 17 troops killed compared with 13 in October and 25 in September, according to the independent website icasualties.org.

Since the March 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam, 4,207 members of the American military have been killed in Iraq, according to an AFP toll compiled from icasualties.org.

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