BAGHDAD -- The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad says it is scaling back efforts to train Iraqi police officials but has no plans to end the program completely.
A statement Sunday by the Embassy denied a report in The New York Times that the $500 million Police Development Program could be eliminated by the end of the year.
Embassy spokesman Michael McClellan called the program "a vital part of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship."
The embassy last month reported to U.S. auditors that it is withdrawing American advisers from the Baghdad Police College. Work at the police academy was a centerpiece of the training program that is the most expensive embassy initiative with Iraq.
McClellan said the move would save money but still allow advisers to help Iraq police.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BAGHDAD (AP) – A series of bombings targeting security forces killed four people in two major Iraqi cities Sunday, officials said.
In the first attack, a parked car exploded near a police patrol in a main street in the center of the western city of Ramadi, police said. One policeman was killed in the morning blast in the city that was once an al-Qaida hotbed.
An official in the nearby Ramadi hospital said five other policemen were seriously wounded. Two passers-by were also wounded, he said.
Several hours later in Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-rigged belt at a checkpoint after policemen suspected him of being an insurgent and opened fire.
Two Baghdad police officials said two policemen and a passer-by were killed and nine others including three policemen were wounded.
The casualties were confirmed by a medic at the capital's al-Yarouk hospital.
Earlier in Baghdad, double blasts took place in the southern district of Karradah. The first bomb, which was planted under a parked car, caused no casualties.
The second blast came a few minutes later as police and security forces rushed to the scene. It wounded six people including four security officers, police and health officials said.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Violence has dropped across Iraq since the days when the country teetered on the brink of civil war just a few years ago, but deadly attacks still happen nearly everyday. Insurgents launch frequent attacks on Shiites and security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government in an attempt to revive sectarian fighting in the country.
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