A string of bombings in a southern oil city killed 19 people on Thursday evening and injured dozens more, a grim sign of the security challenges Iraq will face after American troops go home.

The U.S. military is drawing down its troops ahead of an end-of-December deadline to have all American forces out of the country. Incidents like Thursday’s triple bombing in a city seen as key to Iraq’s economic development show the dangerous prospects awaiting Iraqis next year.

Three bombs went off in a popular open-air market in Basra, police and health officials said.

The third bomb exploded a few minutes after Iraqi army and police forces arrived on the scene in response to the earlier blasts, officials said. The third blast caused all the fatalities and almost all of the injuries, the officials said.

Among the dead and wounded were many policemen and Iraqi army soldiers.

Keywords: Iraq bombings

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