Baghdad (AP) - A string of more than a dozen attacks targeted Iraq's local government and police forces from one end of the country to the other on Wednesday killing 33 people and leaving scores wounded, police and hospital officials said.
There were no claims of responsibility, but the scale and reach of the violence, which comes a day after the number of U.S. troops fell below 50,000, underscored insurgent efforts to show their might as the American military presence in Iraq shrinks.
The insurgents targeted the government institutions that are key to the day to day running and stability of the country.
The deadliest attack occurred in north Baghdad where a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in a parking lot behind a police station, killing 15 people, including six policemen and nine civilians. Another 58 were wounded in the attack in Baghdad's Qahira neighborhood, police and hospital officials said.
The explosion left a crater three yards (meters) in diameter, damaged two nearby houses and brought down segments of the concrete blast wall protecting the police station.
Southeast of Baghdad, in Kut, eight policemen were killed and 20 people were injured when a suicide bomber detonated his car bomb next to the town's local council, police and hospital officials said.
Just north of the capital, in Muqdadiyah, the local council building was also hit with a car bomb, killing three civilians and injuring 18, according to the spokesman of Diyala police, Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi.
In Baghdad itself, long a focus of violence in the country, there were a series of other small attacks, including a car bomb that killed two civilians in Adan Square, in the north of the city and wounded eight people.
Gunmen in a western Baghdad neighborhood ambushed a police patrol, killing one, while a roadside bomb hit an army patrol nearby leaving a soldier dead.
Another soldier was killed west of the capital in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-packed car into a convoy. Another 10 people were injured, police said.
Police were also targeted in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, where a car bomb killed one policeman and wounded eight more.
The south witnessed scattered attacks as well, including a car bomb that killed a local man on the road near Iskandariyah, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
In the Shiite holy city of Karbala a car bomb exploded near the police station, wounding 28 people but leaving no fatalities. Two people in the southern port city of Basra were also injured by a car packed with explosives.
While violence has subsided significantly since the height of the sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, militants continue to target members of Iraq's nascent security forces, undermining their ability to defend the country as the U.S. ends combat operations.
Associated Press Writer Barbara Surk contributed to this report.
The violence underscores insurgents' efforts to show their relevance as the American military presence in Iraq shrinks.