A series of blasts struck an area west of Baghdad on Saturday where day labourers gather to find work, as well as a music and clothes market in the capital, killing at least 15 people, officials said.

The second day of major attacks this week in Iraq underscored the challenges still facing the security forces as they approach a particularly fragile time. All American troops are scheduled to be out of Iraq in a matter of weeks, leaving Iraqi security forces with sole responsibility for securing the country.

Violence has ebbed across Iraq, but deadly bombings and shootings still occur almost daily as U.S. troops prepare to leave by the end of the year.

Iraqi security officials maintain that they are fully prepared for the withdrawal, which is required under a 2008 security pact between the U.S. and Iraq.

On Thursday, three bombs struck the southern city of Basra, killing 19 people.

Earlier this week, the top U.S. general in Iraq, Lloyd Austin, said there would likely be some “turbulence” after American troops depart, as militants try to strengthen their positions. But he did not think there would be a wholesale disintegration of security.

Keywords: Iraq blasts

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