BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A string of explosions killed at least 13 people and wounded 74 in the Baghdad area on Sunday, including a suicide bombing targeting Iraqi soldiers north of the capital, security officials said.
Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the height of sectarian conflict four years ago, but bombings, assassinations and other attacks are carried out daily by a weakened Sunni Islamist insurgency and Shi'ite militias.
At least nine Iraqi troops were killed when a suicide bomber blew up his car among a group of soldiers investigating a car bomb near a checkpoint in Taji, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad, said the capital's security spokesman, Mayor-General Qassim al-Moussawi.
"Two vehicles exploded in Taji. The first was a parked car bomb. They were trying to defuse it, when another driver rammed into them and blew himself up," he said.
An Interior Ministry source had earlier described the victims as police officers.
Iraqi security forces and police are often targeted by insurgents as Washington prepares to withdraw the remaining U.S. troops at year-end, more than eight years after the invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
On Sunday, four roadside bombs and a parked car bomb also targeted a police base in Amil District, southwestern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding 15 people including three policemen, a security official said.
Two more people were killed and another seven were wounded by another roadside bomb planted near a hospital in Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad.
Three bombs targeting security forces killed 27 people last week in the northern oil city of Kirkuk.
Iraqi forces will take over full control of security at the end of this year when the remaining 47,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq. U.S. troops are now mainly engaged in training and advising Iraqi forces.
(Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Peter Graff)