Three bombs shook central Baghdad after dawn on Thursday, killing at least 15 people, injuring another 50 and sending smoke and flame above the main street of the popular Karrada shopping district, police said.

Hours earlier, a triple car bombing hit a mainly Shia district of the capital following a day of meetings in Brussels between the new Shia-led government, its US sponsors and other foreign powers.

Police said a car bomber killed three policemen and wounded two when he drove at their patrol in Karrada. Two other, apparently stationary, cars exploded in the same area within minutes, one close to a Shia mosque.

The morning explosions went off
a few minutes apart

A Reuters Television cameraman saw at least three bodies being carried away from the scene of the attack on the police patrol.

The bombs were close to each other and went off a few minutes apart, shortly after 7am (0300 GMT).

The early hour may have reduced the toll.

Arrests

Also on Thursday, Iraqi police detained 50 suspected fighters in separate raids in southeastern Baghdad and north of the capital, officials said.

An Iraqi police rapid response team detained 30 people near Baquba, including six suspected foreign fighters from Syria, Egypt and Sudan, Lieutenant-Colonel Walid Ismail said.

Separately, police also detained 20 suspects in three southeastern Baghdad neighbourhoods, police spokesman Othman al-Lami said.

The US military, meanwhile, announced that Iraqi soldiers captured four "terror suspects" in western Baghdad on Wednesday, and a joint Iraqi-US force seized weapons caches in northeast and central Baghdad, including 16 AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition.

Wednesday's attacks

Late Wednesday evening, a coordinated series of four car
bombs had killed at least 23 people and wounded 48, including sidewalk diners and passengers at a bus station, in a mainly Shia district of the capital, the police said. 

Fierce clashes overnight erupted at 1am and continued until 5am in al-Khadhra neighbourhood, Iraqi journalist Ziyad al-Samarrai told Aljazeera.

 

Brussels conference participants
declared support for Iraq

The clashes resulted in the killing and wounding of scores of people and the destruction of several nearby houses, he added.

 

In another incident, the headquarters of the Major Crimes Department in al-Amiriyah district was targeted. Fighters launched an intense and coordinated attack, using a car bomb and mortars, the Iraqi journalist said.

 

In all, at least 32 people were killed on Wednesday across Iraq, including a prominent Sunni law professor assassinated by armed men.

Jassim al-Issawi was a former judge who put his name forward at one point to join the committee drafting Iraq's constitution.

The US military said three US soldiers were killed a day earlier during combat operations west of Baghdad near Ramadi.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Belgium, an international conference adopted a declaration of support for the war-torn nation, backing the Iraqi government's "efforts to achieve a democratic, pluralist, federal and unified Iraq".