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Iraq violence at lowest level in four years, U.S. military says

  • Story Highlights
  • Military official: Violence down by 70 percent, and at its lowest since March 2004
  • Announcement comes shortly after separate bombings Sunday in Baghdad
  • Blast near Turkish Embassy injured 5 people, Iraq's Interior Ministry says
  • Bomb near convoy of Babil's provincial governor injured 11, ministry says
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The level of violence in Iraq has dropped within the past week to a level not seen in four years, a military spokesman said Sunday.


U.S. soldiers in Sadr City during a sandstorm Sunday. The area is now experiencing a tense peace.

"Iraq-wide, we have seen a significant reduction of violence," said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, spokesman for the Multi-National Forces.

"In the past week, security incidents decreased to levels we have not seen since March of 2004. These figures reflect a decrease in attacks of some 70 percent since the surge operations began in June of 2007," he said.

However, two separate blasts wounded at least 16 people in Baghdad earlier Sunday, the Interior Ministry said.

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol went off near the Turkish Embassy in the Waziriya neighborhood in northern Baghdad on Sunday morning, the ministry official said. The blast wounded at least five people: two police officers and three bystanders.

In the second attack, a bomb inside a parked car went off as a convoy for Babil's provincial governor drove by in western Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, an Interior Ministry official said. It was not not immediately known whether Gov. Salim al-Muslimawi was part of the convoy when the bomb went off. The blast hurt 11 people, including seven members of the governor's security detail.

Driscoll also updated numbers from raids conducted in several Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad on Friday. More than 513 people of interest were initially screened by Iraqi National Police, he said, and the Iraqi Army detained 128 people. U.S. forces screened 385 people, he said, and 344 were released.

Troops from Multi-National Division -- Baghdad took 40 people into custody, he said. Five of those were wanted criminals, and the remaining 35 were detained for questioning.

Several hundred Iraqi soldiers, with U.S. troops providing security, conducted the raids in the al-Amal and Bayaa neighborhoods in southwest Baghdad and the northwest Baghdad neighborhood of Rahmaniyat al-Shula, officials said.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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