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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baghdad Security Plan Falling Apart

BAGHDAD -- A car bomb and a suicide attacker killed at least 11 people across Baghdad on Tuesday as militants show increasing defiance to a major security operation in the capital.

More than 100 people have been killed in the Baghdad area since Sunday in a direct challenge to efforts by U.S. and Iraqi forces to restore order on the streets and give the embattled government some breathing room.

Outside Baghdad, nearly 150 people were hospitalized complaining of breathing problems, vomiting and other ailments after a truck carrying a chlorine-based substance was hit by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, Iraqi Brigadier General Qassim Moussawi said.

On Monday, insurgents staged a bold daylight assault against a U.S. combat post north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and injuring 17. The U.S. military called it a "coordinated attack" -- which began with a suicide car bombing and then gunfire on soldiers pinned down in a former Iraqi police station.

The head-on attack in a town about 50 kilometers north of Baghdad, was notable for both its tactics and target. Sunni insurgents have mostly used hit-and-run ambushes, roadside bombs or mortars against U.S. troops and stayed away from direct assaults on fortified military compounds to avoid U.S. firepower.

It also appeared to fit a pattern emerging among the suspected Sunni militants: trying to hit U.S. forces harder outside the capital rather than confront them on the streets during a massive U.S.-led security operation.

In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to try to defuse a potentially explosive scandal after a Sunni woman claimed she was raped by three officers of the Shiite-dominated police.

But the government's response -- siding with the officers and trying to discredit the allegations -- threatened to bring an even stronger backlash.

A statement by Maliki's office accused "certain parties" -- presumably Sunni politicians -- of fabricating the claims in an attempt to undermine security forces during an ongoing security operation that began last week.