At least seven policemen were killed in Baghdad today (Saturday), and dozens more wounded, when two suicide bombers exploded simultaneously outside a police station near the heavily fortified "Green Zone."
The U.S. military says the explosions were near a checkpoint leading into the Green Zone, which houses Iraq's interim government and the American and British embassies.
The attacks follow another one Friday on a Iraqi police station in western Baghdad that killed 11 officers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military says a soldier was killed and five others wounded today (Saturday) in a bomb attack in eastern Baghdad. Another soldier was killed and one wounded in a blast near Baquba. And Friday night, two multinational force soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack near the Jordanian border.
Japan's defense chief is heading to southern Iraq today (Saturday) to visit Japanese troops at a camp in Samawa, where they are on a humanitarian assignment, repairing war damage.
The defense minister (Yoshinori Ono) says he wants to see security conditions in Samawa for himself. The mission of the 550 Japanese troops in Iraq is due to end on Dec. 14, but the Tokyo government is expected to extend their deployment.
Japan's soldiers in Iraq, who are all assigned to non-combat duty, have suffered no casualties, but several Japanese civilians in Iraq have been killed. Many Japanese oppose extending the troops' deployment, but Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says Japan's efforts are necessary to help rebuild Iraq, stabilize the Middle East and bolster Tokyo's alliance with the United States.