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Wave of deadly car bombs hits Baghdad

At least 46 people killed in six car bomb explosions across the Iraqi capital and scores more wounded.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 2013 05:16
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The explosions were all caused by bombs planted in cars parked in commercial streets [Reuters]

At least 46 people have been killed and 152 others wounded in a wave of evening car bombings in commercial areas of Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

The blasts struck late on Saturday in the neighbourhoods of Jididayh, Karrada, Baiyaa, Shurta, Tobchi and Zafaraniyah, the majority of which are predominantly Shia Muslim, according to police.

They said the explosions were all caused by car bombs parked in commercial streets.

Officers said the bombs went off after the breaking of the daily Ramadan fast when many people are out shopping or relaxing in coffee shops.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, coordinated bombings against Shia Muslims are a favoured tactic of al-Qaeda's Iraq branch.

String of attacks

Saturday's blasts began with an explosion in a busy shopping street that shook buildings in the central Baghdad neighbourhood of Karrada.

Police said that attack killed nine and wounded 17, and left several shops and food stalls damaged.

"The evening is the busiest time of day when a lot of people pour into Karrada after iftar to shop or eat in restaurants," said clothes vendor Karim Sami, who was working just down the road from the site of the blast.

"We don't know who to blame for these security breaches, but we are sure of one thing: Our people are bleeding every day," he said.

Similar car bombs struck the northwestern Tobchi district, killing eight and wounding 29, and Baiyaa in western Baghdad, killing three and wounding 13, authorities said.

Another blast struck Zafaraniyah in southeastern Baghdad, killing six and wounding 15, according to officials.

Two separate car bombs exploded in the New Baghdad neighbourhood in the southeast, killing five people and wounding 17, authorities said.

Yet another car bomb exploded in a Shia part of the religiously mixed western neighbourhood of Shurta, killing four and wounding 12, authorities said.

Hours before the Baghdad blasts, gunmen in pick-up trucks shot and killed Bassem Mahmoud, the local leader of a local Sunni militia opposed to al-Qaeda, and two of his bodyguards near the city of Baquba, 60kmnortheast of the Iraqi capital, according to police.

Ramadan spike in violence

Bombings and other attacks have now killed more than 250 people since the start of Ramadan on July 10, according to an Associated Press count.

The Saturday bombings came a day after a suicide bomber killed 20 people inside a crowded Sunni Muslim mosque north of the capital.

Fighters have attacked both Sunni and Shia mosques in recent months, raising fears of a return to all-out sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands of people in past years.

More than 2,700 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Most senior officials and religious leaders remain silent on the unrest.

In May, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a shakeup of senior security officers, but the move has failed to curb the unrest.

482

Source:
Agencies
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