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Middle East

Sectarian fears as Iraq bombs kill dozens

At least 46 killed in series of attacks in mostly Shia areas of capital Baghdad, medics and police say.

Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 19:39
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The violence comes a day after a series of attacks north of Baghdad left dozens dead [Reuters]

A wave of attacks in Iraq, mostly targeting Shia Muslims, including a spate of market bombings, has killed at least 46 people, police and medics have said.

Tuesday's deadliest violence stuck the capital, with five car bombs ripping through markets, raising fears of a revival of the country's sectarian conflict.

Vehicles rigged with explosives went off minutes apart at around 6:00pm local time (1500 GMT) in packed commercial areas of Shuala, Kamiliyah, Shaab and Abu Tcheer neighbourhoods, according to security and medical officials.

Shootings elsewhere in the capital killed four others, while bombings in the restive northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul left one person dead and three wounded.

The violence comes a day after a series of attacks north of Baghdad left dozens dead, including 23 killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a funeral taking place inside a Shia religious hall.

Nationwide unrest is at its worst level since 2008, with the UN saying more than 2,500 people died from April through June, as Iraq grapples with a protracted political deadlock and months of protests among its Sunni Arab minority.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The violence is part of a sustained campaign of bomb attacks since the start of the year that has prompted warnings of wider conflict in a country where ethnic Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable power-sharing compromise.

Sectarian tensions have been inflamed by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, which is fast spreading into a region-wide proxy war drawing, drawing in Shia and Sunni fighters from Iraq and beyond to fight on opposite sides of the conflict.

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