Iraq reports drop in attacks, but bombs kill 14

Thursday, July 10, 2008

BAGHDAD — Bombs took a bloody toll Wednesday, killing 13 Iraqis and a U.S. soldier, but military officials reported a sharp fall off in attacks over the past year — a decline reflected in a steep decrease in violent deaths tallied by The Associated Press.

Decreasing violence has been attributed mainly to the 2007 U.S. troop surge, a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq and government crackdowns on Sunni extremists and Shiite militias. But the U.S. general who led efforts to train Iraq's army and police units warned Wednesday that progress is mixed and long-term American help will be needed.

The spate of bombings Wednesday came a day after Iraqi officials stepped up pressure on Washington to agree to a specific timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops, in a sign of the government's growing confidence amid falling violence.

The Iraqi military said Wednesday that the number of "terrorist attacks" in June declined 85 percent from the same period a year ago.

— AP

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