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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dual Suicide Attacks Strike Ramadi Market

BAGHDAD -- Two suicide car bombers attacked a market and a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Ramadi, killing at least 20 people and dealing a blow to recent U.S. success in reclaiming the Sunni city from insurgents.

A mortar attack also killed five people and wounded two others in Baiyaa, a religiously mixed neighborhood in western Baghdad that has seen a recent rise in sectarian tension. And four Iraqi troops were killed in separate attacks in Baqouba, northeast of the capital.

The violence came one day after roadside bombs killed eight U.S. soldiers, including six who died in a single blast along with a Russian journalist in the surrounding province of Diyala.

The mounting U.S. casualty toll highlights the dangers facing troops as they take to the streets more as part of a security crackdown in the Baghdad area.

The first attack targeted a public market at about noon northwest of Ramadi, 115 kilometers west of Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding about 30, police said.

About 15 minutes later, another bomber detonated his vehicle at a nearby police checkpoint, killing five police officers and five bystanders and wounding 10 others, police said.

The U.S. military has struggled for years to secure Ramadi, the capital of the insurgent stronghold of Anbar province.

The city has shown recent signs of calming, with whole neighborhoods being walled off and military units moving off the major bases and establishing smaller U.S.-Iraqi posts in the most violent areas in the city's downtown. But the violence has continued as insurgents fight back for control.

The areas that were hit are controlled by Sunni tribes that have joined forces in an alliance against al-Qaida.

"They committed this crime because we have identified their hideouts and we are chasing them," said Sheik Jabbar Naif al-Dulaimi, a police officer and a member of the alliance known as the Anbar Salvation Council.

Violence has also surged north of Baghdad, where militants have fled the security crackdown in the capital that began on Feb. 14.

The attacks in Baqouba, a Sunni insurgent stronghold northeast of Baghdad, began at about 4:30 a.m. when a booby-trapped house exploded during a raid, killing two Iraqi soldiers and wounding three. About six hours later, gunmen ambushed a police station elsewhere in the city, killing two officers and wounding two others, police said.

The bullet-riddled body of a policeman bearing signs of torture also was found outside the northern city of Kirkuk.

An al-Qaida front group claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing against an Iraqi army recruiting center in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, which killed 10 recruits and five soldiers.

The Islamic State of Iraq identified the suicide bomber as Abu Abdel-Rahman and claimed that at least 100 people were killed, contrary to police reports, and it warned Iraqis not to join the army.