Although Iraqis were celebrating the newly anointed "National Sovereignty Day" on the streets of Baghdad Monday night, their triumphant moods were tarnished by the explosion of a car bomb Tuesday morning in a crowded Kirkuk vegetable and poultry market that left at least 27 people dead and an estimated 40 wounded—a chilling reminder of the challenges still facing the new Iraqi government. During a nationally televised address, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki assured Iraqis that the government was in control: "Those who think that Iraqis are not able to protect their country and that the withdrawal of foreign forces will create a security vacuum are committing a big mistake," he said. The bombings are the latest in a series that began on June 20th, leaving a total of 250 dead.
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