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Middle East

Series of bomb blasts kill scores in Baghdad

At least 56 people dead and hundreds wounded around Baghdad as cabinet postpones local elections in two provinces.
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013 17:11

Car bombs and roadside blasts have killed at least 56 people and hundreds injured across the Iraqi capital Baghdad and elsewhere, police and hospital sources have said.

Security forces stepped up searches at checkpoints after the attack on Tuesday, closing off key roads and worsening the capital's morning gridlock, a reporter for the AFP news agency said.

 Co-ordinated attacks targeted markets, restaurants, bus stops and day labourers during the morning rush hour

Along with 56 killed, over 200 people were wounded in the attacks on the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. 

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, also said a suicide bomber has detonated his vest in a restaurant near Mosul.

At least ten car bombs, including two detonated by suicide bombers, one roadside bomb and two gun attacks struck in and around the Iraqi capital during the morning rush hour on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion.

Sunni fighters tied to al-Qaeda have stepped up their campaign of attacks this year in an attempt to trigger sectarian tensions and undermine Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shia-led government.

There was no immediate claim of responsibilty for the blasts.

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The attacks cames as the cabinet announced on Tuesday that it would postpone provincial elections in two provinces that were scheduled for April by up to six months over security concerns.

Polls in Anbar province in west Iraq and Nineveh in the north have been delayed, Ali Mussawi, the Iraqi premier's spokesman said.

Mussawi said that candidates had been threatened and killed, while there were also requests for a delay from the two provinces.

Several provincial elections candidates have also been killed in attacks in recent weeks.

It appeared that elections in the 12 other provinces where they were set to be held on April 20 would go ahead as scheduled.

While violence in Iraq has decreased from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common, killing 220 people in February, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.

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