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Iraq Transition

Bombings kill more than 50 in Iraq

U.S. Marines say woman, child shot dead at checkpoint
U.S. soldiers stand guard near a car left charred by a bomb Wednesday in Baghdad.
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Bombings across Iraq killed at least 54 people Wednesday.

Iraqis looking for jobs continue to line up at recruiting stations.

U.S. troops in western Iraq encounter well-trained fighters.
• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Six bombings killed at least 54 Iraqis and wounded 96 others Wednesday, including 20 civilians who died as they lined up to join the Iraqi army in Hawija when a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden under his clothing, Iraqi officials said.

That attack in the town about 130 miles (209 kilometers) north of Baghdad also wounded 30 Iraqis, said Iraqi army Lt. Col. Khalil al-Zawbai.

A car bombing in Saddam Hussein's ancestral homeland of Tikrit also killed 30 Iraqis and wounded another 40, Iraqi officials said.

The Tikrit explosion happened Wednesday morning at a busy intersection where workers gather for day labor, officials said.

Three car bombings also occurred in the Iraqi capital, including an attack outside a southern Baghdad police station that killed three Iraqis and wounded eight -- some police officers -- and one in an eastern neighborhood that wounded three Iraqis, police said.

A third car bomb exploded near an emergency police patrol at Jordan Square in western Baghdad, police said. One person was killed and 11 others wounded, including four police officers, said a doctor at the hospital where the injured were taken.

A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. military convoy also exploded in Baghdad, wounding four Iraqis, police said. It was not immediately known if there were any American casualties.

In addition, a mortar struck the Iraqi Oil Ministry complex in the capital Wednesday, police said. There were no further details available.

Insurgent battle continues

U.S. forces battled Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters for a fourth day in northwestern Anbar province, near Iraq's border with Syria, in a mission dubbed Operation Matador.

U.S. Marine Col. Stephen Davis said the Americans are encountering "light resistance."

The 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, has reported the deaths of three Marines and an estimated 100 insurgents and foreign fighters.

Marines said they shot at a car that continued toward a checkpoint despite warnings to stop Tuesday southeast of Ubaydi, where the western Iraq offensive began.

A woman and child in the vehicle died but the driver was unharmed, the Marine statement said.

The motorist "ignored the posted warning signs to stop and bypassed an obstacle barrier" as he drove toward the post, the statement added.

"The Marines stated that they believed the vehicle was a suicide car bomb," the statement said. The driver has been detained and is being questioned.

Also Tuesday, Anbar province's governor, Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi, was kidnapped by people demanding that U.S. forces cease operations in the area, Anbar tribal sources said.

Other developments

  • Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and three others were wounded Wednesday when insurgents opened fire on an Iraqi army checkpoint in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jami'a, police said.
  • The U.S. Senate unanimously approved an $82 billion spending package Tuesday to help pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other projects, including border control and tsunami relief. President Bush said he would sign the bill. (Full story)
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Tuesday his government is working to confirm what happened to a Japanese man reportedly taken hostage when insurgents attacked a convoy Sunday in northwestern Iraq. Western security sources said there were 20 people in the convoy of a London-based security company and that 13 are missing. (Full story)
  • CNN's Kevin Flower, Kianne Sadeq and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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