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Bomb attacks target hospital, marketplace

Bombing attacks at a hospital and a market place Sunday killed five people and wounded at least 18 others in Iraq, police and hospital officials said.
Iraq Violence
An Iraqi policeman is treated for his wounds after a roadside bomb struck in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday. Adil Al-khazali / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bombing attacks at a hospital and a market place Sunday killed five people and wounded at least 18 others in Iraq, police and hospital officials said.

A bomb hidden beneath a pile of garbage exploded near a public health clinic packed with patients in a market in Khalis, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad, police said.

Two people were killed and 13 wounded in the attack, which officials said was targeting the town mayor who was touring the market at the time of the blast.

The second attack came when a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a hospital in Amiriyat al-Fallujah in Anbar province near the city of Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad.

Two women and a 10-year-old girl were killed in the attack, while five people — including a doctor and her husband — were injured, police said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The attack in Amiriyat al-Fallujah follows a suicide bombing on Saturday that killed eight people and wounded 17 at a police checkpoint near Ramadi, which is also located in Anbar.

Militants not giving up the fight
The violence comes two months after the U.S. handed control of the province over to the Iraqis and shows that militants have still not given up the fight despite setbacks at the hands of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

In the northern city of Mosul, which has seen a spike in violence in recent months, two bombings killed three Iraqi soldiers and wounded 15 people, including five policemen.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Cabinet held a special session to discuss the 2009 draft budget in light of the world financial crisis and slumping world oil prices, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

The Finance Ministry has proposed a 2009 draft budget of 79 trillion Iraqi dinars ($68.7 billion) and a deficit of 62 trillion Iraqi dinars ($15.6 billion), al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

The statement did not say whether the Cabinet also discussed the U.S. response to proposed changes to a new security deal that would keep U.S. troops in the country until the end of 2011. On Thursday, the U.S. delivered what it calls its final reply to Iraqi amendments to the deal.

Iraq's Cabinet must sign off on the agreement before sending it to parliament for a final decision.

Draft agreement draws criticism
The draft agreement that has drawn sharp criticism from Iraqi Shiite clerics and Shiite-dominated Iran.

Tehran's closest Arab ally, Syria, lashed out against the pact Sunday.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said U.S. troops contribute to regional instability and should pull out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Assad pointed to a recent American cross-border raid into Syria as evidence that the U.S. will use Iraq as a base to attack its neighbors.

The U.S. has accused both of supporting insurgents — charges both countries deny.

"The latest American aggression on Syrian territory shows that the presence of American occupation forces constitutes a source of continuous threat to the security of Iraq's neighboring states and a factor of instability for the region," he said.

Iraq has asked the U.S. for an explicit ban in the proposed security pact on the use of Iraqi soil for attacks against the country's neighbors. The U.S. has replied to the request, but the details are not known.

The Iraqi parliament must approve the agreement by year's end when a U.N. mandate expires. Failure to approve the agreement or get the U.N. Security Council to issue a new mandate would force the U.S. to suspend operations in the country.