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Deadly blasts, assassination strike Iraq before election

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
April 18, 2013 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Iraqi boys inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's district of Sadr City on April 16, 2013.
Iraqi boys inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's district of Sadr City on April 16, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A prosecutor in Falluja is assassinated Wednesday night, police say
  • Four blasts in and around Baghdad killed at least three people Wednesday
  • The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad released a statement condemning the violence
  • Attacks included a car bombing of an Iraqi army convoy, a bombing near a police station

(CNN) -- Four blasts in and around Baghdad killed at least three people and wounded 16 on Wednesday, police said.

Violence has persisted in recent days in the lead-up to Iraq's provincial elections scheduled for Saturday.

The latest attacks included a car bombing of an Iraqi army convoy, a car bombing near a police station, a roadside bomb that struck a politician's convoy and another roadside bomb, police say.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad released a statement on Tuesday condemning the ongoing violence, some of which has targeted people running for office.

Deadly wave of bombings across Iraq

"These attacks have killed more than a dozen candidates and injured many others." the statement said. "Such terrorist acts are a cowardly and unacceptable attempt to undermine Iraq's democracy and a desperate effort to intimidate Iraqis and deter them from participating in the democratic process."

READ MORE: In his last act, Iraq veteran's mission turns deeply personal

About 45 miles (75 kilometers) west in Falluja, the chief prosecutor of the city's civil court was assassinated on Wednesday night, Ramadi police officials told CNN.

Maarouf Ahmed al-Kobaisi was in his car when gunmen driving by opened fire, killing him.

A car bomb exploded about an hour later at a police patrol in central Falluja, according to Ramadi police. It was not immediately known if anyone was hurt or killed in this blast.

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