IraqIraqi militants began a surge of bombings on Wednesday, just as the United States completes its drawdown of combat forces. The bombings targeted security forces in 13 cities and took the lives of 48 people while injuring 286 others.

The capital of Baghdad, as well as large cities in other quadrants, appeared to be the targets of the mass bombings that took place. It is unclear at this time whether the bombings were coordinated to occur together or simply coincidental.  But it bears a strong resemblance to a series of shootings and bombings that took place in May, killing 85 and injuring 300.

This comes right after the U.S. troop numbers in Iraq fell below 50,000, the smallest number it has seen since the invasion began in 2003. The combat role of U.S. troops is scheduled to end August 31.  Operation New Dawn starts September 1. In the new operation, troops still in Iraq are to train and assist the Iraqis.  The U.S soldiers are authorized to defend themselves when needed, or join in combat if the Iraqis request assistance.

While the violence rate in Iraq has recently decreased, there seems to be a new campaign of violence that targets police, Iraqi soldiers and local leaders. This leaves many to wonder if the Iraqi police and Iraqi soldiers can handle the insurgent activity on their own.

(map via CIA Factbook)