BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb killed 61 people on Wednesday at a market in eastern Baghdads volatile Sadr City slum, police said, six days before US combat troops are due to withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities. About 116 people were wounded by the blast in the mostly Shia area in one of Iraqs worst attacks this year. A witness said the explosion tore through a part of the Mraidi Market where birds are sold, setting stalls ablaze. Bloodshed has dropped sharply across Iraq in the past year, but armed groups including Al-Qaeda continue to launch deadly car and suicide bombings aimed at undermining the government and reigniting sectarian conflict. Wednesdays market bombing came just four days after the US military formally handed control to local forces of Sadr City, where US and Iraqi forces fought fierce battles against Shia militiamen in the spring of 2008. Three school students died in another bombing in Sadr City on Monday, one of a string of blasts that killed 27 people across Iraq that day. On Saturday, at least 73 people died in suicide truck bombing outside a mosque in Kirkuk province. High death tolls remain common despite the fall in overall violence. Two female suicide bombers killed 60 people outside a shrine in the capital this April, just days before twin car bomb blasts killed 51 people in Sadr City. Such attacks cast doubt on the ability of local security forces, rebuilt from the ground up after they were dissolved by US officials in 2003, to vanquish a stubborn insurgency on their own. Sadr City is a bastion of support for fiery anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia. But the Mehdi Army has frozen most activities in the past year and Iraqi government forces have retaken control of the area. Earlier on Wednesday, a US military spokesman said only a small number of US troops would be left in Iraqi cities after the June 30 deadline for combat forces to leave urban areas, but that the exact number was still being worked on. Some US soldiers will remain behind at so-called Joint Security Stations to train and advise local security forces, and the US military will also continue to provide intelligence, and air support, and be on call if needed. US troops who invaded over six years ago are due to leave Iraq completely by 2012 as part of a security agreement signed by Baghdad and Washington last year.