Deadly explosions rock Baghdad

At least 32 deaths reported as consecutive bombs explode in the northeast of the Iraqi capital.

    Violence has decreased since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but many fear an escalation as US troops withdraw [Reuters]

    Two deadly explosions in Baghdad have caused mass casualties, according to police and hospital officials.

    A medical source told Al Jazeera that at least 32 people were killed and more than 70 others wounded in Thursday's attacks in the northeast of the Iraqi capital.

    Two police officials told the Associated Press news agency that the first explosion, at a music store shortly after 7pm local time (16:00 GMT), killed two people.

    The second bomb struck four minutes later, as rescue workers and others rushed to the scene, the officials said.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    "Today's attack proves that the government's allegations that the security is under control are nothing but baseless allegations"

    - Ahmed Jalil, grocery store owner

    "I stood outside my shop and saw burning cars and dead bodies on the ground," Ahmed Jalil, a grocery store owner near the attack site in Ur, a mainly Shia Muslim neighbourhood, told AP.

    "The situation was miserable and I could see wounded people being loaded on police pickups.

    "Today's attack proves that the government's allegations that the security is under control are nothing but baseless allegations and that the tens of checkpoints scattered all over the capital are useless and a waste of resources."

    Violence in Iraq has decreased since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but many fear an escalation as the December 31 withdrawal date for US troops approaches.

    Barack Obama, the US president, recently confirmed that all 39,000 US troops still stationed in Iraq will be withdrawn by the end of the year, bringing to an end to an almost nine-year presence in the country since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

    Iraqi leaders have refused to give US troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, while US military officials have refused to stay without it.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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