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Hundreds of civilians killed in Iraqi violence in August

By the CNN Wire Staff
Iraqi soldiers and policemen stand at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in in northeastern Baghdad  on August 25.
Iraqi soldiers and policemen stand at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in in northeastern Baghdad on August 25.
  • A series of bombings Wednesday target police officers
  • The August toll includes 295 civilians killed
  • In July, the number of people killed was the highest since May 2008
  • Obama on Tuesday officially ended the U.S. combat role in the nation

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Violence killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians in August, authorities said Wednesday, a day after President Barack Obama marked the end of the U.S. combat mission in the country.

The month's toll included 295 civilians killed and 508 wounded, the Ministry of Interior said.

Fifty-four Iraqi soldiers were killed and 150 more wounded in the same month.

In July, the number of people killed in the nation's violence was the highest since May 2008. Nearly 400 civilians were killed in that month.

The month of September started off with at least three attacks, authorities said.

In one, a police officer who works for the Interior Ministry was killed when a bomb attached to his civilian car exploded Wednesday morning in northwestern Baghdad.

In a separate attack in Tikrit on the same day, three police officers were wounded when a roadside bomb struck a police patrol.

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And one more officer was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded outside his house in Falluja, authorities said. The officer was heading to work when the bomb went off.

The attacks came a day after Obama officially ended the U.S. combat role in the nation, saying "It is time to turn the page."

While the U.S. will support Iraqi officials, it will refocus its energies on its economy and the war in Afghanistan, the president said Tuesday evening.

"The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people," Obama said in an address from the Oval Office.

"Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page."

The U.S. combat mission in Iraq ends more than seven years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Roughly 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 to train, assist and advise Iraqi troops.

If Iraq requests an extension and the U.S. agrees, some troops could remain beyond that.

Obama praised American troops for their sacrifices in Iraq and said the country is in position to shape its own future.

"We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people -- a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization," he said.

Though attacks continue across Iraq and leaders are struggling to form a coalition government, Obama said violence is at its near lowest level since the war began.

Overall, violence in Iraq has dropped drastically over the past two years compared with the height of the sectarian war in 2006 and 2007.

Before the speech, some Republicans urged Obama to acknowledge that the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq ordered by then-President George W. Bush had worked.

Obama, then a U.S. senator and candidate for president, had opposed it.

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