Iraq Attacks

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Nearly 70 people are now reported killed after a spate of apparently coordinated attacks in several Iraqi cities.

Three U.S. soldiers are among the dead. The Iraqi health ministry says more than 260 people are hurt. There were earlier indications the number of deaths may be higher. Car bombs rocked the city of Mosul, and initial reports there had said at least 50 people died and 170 were injured.

The stepped-up attacks come as Iraq is preparing to take over full sovereignty from the U.S. led coalition next week.

Insurgents directed the assaults mainly at Iraqi security forces. Some of the heaviest clashes were reported in Baqouba.

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed in a blast near a checkpoint manned by U.S. and Iraqi forces in southern Baghdad.