31 killed by suicide bombers in Iraq

Suicide bombers inflicted another day of mayhem in the capital Thursday, killing at least 31 people in two attacks about a minute apart that targeted Iraqi police and Interior Ministry commandos. The carnage of the past two days left nearly 200 people dead.

A dozen bombings during a nine-hour spate of terror Wednesday killed at least 167 people and wounded nearly 600 - Baghdad's worst day of insurgency attacks since the U.S.-led invasion began in March, 2003.

U.S. officials blamed the bombing onslaught on efforts by the Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency to answer the Iraqi army's successful offensive in the northern city of Tal Afar and to undermine the Oct. 15 referendum on Iraq's new constitution, Globe and Mail reports.

"These spikes of violence are predictable around certain critical events that highlight the progress of democracy," said Major-General Rick Lynch, the chief U.S. military spokesman.

"Remember, democracy equals failure for the insurgency. So there has to be heightened awareness now as we work our way toward the referendum. That's power, that's movement toward democracy."

Al-Qaida in Iraq, headed by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the bombing campaign launched after an Iraqi-U.S. force of 8,500 soldiers stormed Tal Afar, an insurgent bastion, this week.

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