As U.S. security forces prepare to pull back from Iraqi cities, violence has surged: In the past two weeks alone, some 200 people have died in suicide bombings. As a result of the heightened violence, some American troops are being repositioned in the areas surrounding the most volatile cities in an effort to ensure a more peaceful transition to Iraqi security forces.

The Christian Science Monitor:

The commanding general in charge of US forces in the north says American combat troops pulling out of Iraq’s most volatile cities are being shifted to areas encircling the cities to try to stop what has proved to be a resilient Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups.

Maj, Gen. Robert Caslen, commander of the 25th Infantry Division, says in an interview that he is watching closely to see whether a recent spike in attacks will continue after the June 30 deadline for US combat troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities.

The deadliest attack in more than a year damaged a Shiite mosque and leveled an entire block of houses near Kirkuk last Saturday, killing more than 80 people and wounding more than 250 others.

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