- Iraq violence - Mosul - unrest
AFP - Two car bombs exploded within minutes of each other on Wednesday in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, killing 12 people and wounding dozens in the deadliest violence since a major pullback of US troops.
The first parked bomb was detonated in Bawiza district on Mosul's outskirts, killing 11 people, a police official told AFP, around the same time as a similar attack killed one person in another area near the city.
"We received 12 bodies," said Dr Ahmed Abdul Karim at the morgue of Medical City Hospital in Mosul. He confirmed that 30 people had also been wounded in the explosions.
The car bombings come just over a week after US troops left Iraq's towns and cities on June 30 under a bilateral agreement that paves the way for a complete American military withdrawal by the end of 2011.
Two earlier attacks in Mosul on Wednesday saw two Iraqi soldiers killed.
The first of them died when a roadside bomb struck an army vehicle in the centre of Mosul, and his colleague was shot dead by gunmen who attacked a security checkpoint in the east of the city, a police official said.
A bomb attached to a car in Al-Mussayab, a town 75 kilometres (47 miles) south of Baghdad, meanwhile, killed two civilians and wounded 18 others, Iraqi army Lieutenant Haidar Al-Khafaji told AFP.
The four weeks leading up to the US withdrawal witnessed the highest death toll in the conflict-hit nation in 11 months, official figures showed on July 1.
A total of 437 people, including 372 civilians, were killed in June, according to figures compiled by government ministries -- the highest toll since since July 2008.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned last month that insurgents and militias were likely to step up attacks ahead of the handover, in a bid to undermine confidence in Iraqi security forces.
Iraq had marked the American pullback on June 30 with a national holiday six years after the invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein but sparked an insurgency and sectarian bloodshed that left tens of thousands dead.
Iraq's 500,000 police and 250,000 soldiers are now in charge in cities, towns and villages, while most of the 133,000 US troops remaining in the country will be based outside towns and cities.
The Americans will largely play a training and support role ahead of a complete pullout ordered by US President Barack Obama by the end of 2011.