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Iraq Transition

Bombs strike two Iraqi targets, killing 6

U.S. death toll in Iraq passes 1,500

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Bombers struck two Iraqi security targets on Thursday, killing five police officers near the Interior Ministry in Baghdad and another person in front of a police headquarters in Baquba, authorities said.

As the U.S. death toll in the war passed 1,500, Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi extended a state of emergency throughout the country for 30 days, his office said Thursday.

The extension came as insurgents struck for a third consecutive day, igniting two explosive-laden vehicles near the Interior Ministry, police said.

The Baghdad bombs -- inside a Kia and a Jeep Cherokee -- went off within minutes of each other, police said, after guards had stopped the vehicles. Five police officers were killed and seven others were wounded.

In Baquba, a suicide car bomber detonated outside a headquarters for Iraqi emergency police, killing one person and wounding a dozen others, police and hospital sources said.

The attack appeared to target a convoy of Mudhafar Shahab Jiburi, chief of the police agency in Diyala province, said police spokesman Sattar al-Karkhi.

In a separate incident in Baghdad, an Iraqi army patrol used small arms to fire on a vehicle as it approached a traffic control point. The vehicle and a vehicle behind it both detonated.

The incident is under investigation, said a spokesman for the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division, who offered no other details.

A car bomb attack on Monday, the single most deadly attack of the war, killed at least 127 people lined up at a police recruiting center in Hilla. On Tuesday, a judge and his lawyer son who work with the Iraqi war crimes tribunal were assassinated in Baghdad. On Wednesday, 13 people died in two Baghdad bombings aimed at Iraqi police and soldiers.

The killing of three U.S. troops on Wednesday brought the American military death toll in the Iraq war to 1,502, according to the U.S. military.

A roadside bomb killed two Task Force Baghdad soldiers on patrol in the capital late Wednesday, the military said Thursday.

The number of U.S. dead in the war reached 1,500 Wednesday when a U.S. Army soldier died in combat in northern Babil province -- an area south of Baghdad nicknamed the "Triangle of Death."

The soldier was serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, a Marine Corps statement said. No other details were released, including the soldier's identity, so relatives could first be notified.

An overwhelming number of all U.S. troops killed in the war have died battling the insurgency that arose after the U.S.-led ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime. The number of those who died in combat totals 1,147, according to the military.

Pentagon officials say 1,450 Iraqi security forces have died hostile action since September 2003.

There has been no official figure for the overall number of Iraqis killed since the conflict began, but some non-government estimates have ranged from 10,000 to 30,000.

Last October, public health experts published a survey in the British health journal The Lancet that estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died since the U.S.-led invasion.

'Continuing of the conditions'

Interim Prime Minister Allawi's office said the reason for the extension of the state of emergency was "continuing of the conditions" under which it was first issued.

A state of emergency essentially puts Iraq under martial law and permits the government to restrict freedom of movement, establish curfews and impose any required security and military measures.

The autonomous, mostly Kurdish region in northern Iraq is exempt from the declaration, which has been in place since the U.S.-led operation in November to oust insurgents from Falluja.

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