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Car bomb kills 13 at Iraqi police station

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

A suicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi police station northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, police said.

Meantime, the military said two U.S. soldiers operating south of Baghdad were killed and 10 wounded in an attack on Tuesday.

Most of the victims of Thursday's car bomb attack were policemen and recruits lining up outside the station in Hibhib, a town 12 miles north of Baqouba, a police officer said on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. Baqouba is the capital of Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

Fifteen others were wounded in the attack, the officer said.

Hibhib lies in an area dominated by Sunni insurgents and is considered a stronghold of both Saddam Hussein loyalists and the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida-linked group. The small town was the site of a U.S. airstrike in June 2006 that killed al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

80 U.S. soldiers killed in July
The attack that killed two American troops on the last day of July — described as indirect fire, which refers to rockets or mortars — brings the total of U.S. troops killed that month to 80. July was the least deadly month for U.S. forces since last November.

The U.S. military has hailed the reduction in deaths among its forces as a sign that this year's strategy of sending additional troops to Iraq and spreading them into neighborhoods in Baghdad and other cities is improving security.

In each of the last three months, the death toll among U.S. troops was more than 100, making the April-June period the deadliest quarter-year of the war. Eighty-one U.S. service members were killed in March.

However, Iraqi government figures released on Wednesday showed a sharp rise in the number of Iraqi civilians killed in July to 1,653 from 1,227 in June.

The July figure of civilian deaths was in line with previous months this year after June had seen deaths fall by more than a third.