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18 dead in blasts in and around Baghdad

world Updated: May 24, 2011 11:14 IST

AFP
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More than a dozen bomb attacks in and around Baghdad on Sunday left at least 18 people dead, including 12 people killed in a suicide attack, and 80 wounded.

The series of attacks come days after blasts against the police in a tense northern city killed 29 people, with just months to go before all the US forces must withdraw from Iraq amid questions over whether local security forces are up to the task of maintaining stability in the war-wracked country.

A total of 12 roadside bombs, three vehicles packed with explosives and one suicide attacker struck, although it was not clear to what extent, if any, the violence was coordinated.

The deadliest attack saw 12 people killed and 23 wounded in a suicide bombing in the town of Taji, 25km north of the capital, an interior ministry official said. A defence ministry official put the toll at 14 dead and 28 wounded in Taji.

A car bomb had initially gone off at around 9am in the town and when residents and ambulance crews arrived at the scene, the suicide bomber blew himself up, causing the casualties, the interior ministry official said.

Among the victims were eight policemen killed, while four policemen and three soldiers were wounded. The ministry official said the initial car bomb had exploded as a US army convoy was passing through Taji, but a US military spokesman said he had received "no indication" of any such attack.

In Baghdad, four roadside bombs and a car bomb near a police station in the southern neighbourhood of Al-Amil killed two people and wounded 15, including three policemen, while a roadside bomb in Saidiyah, also in the south, wounded three people.

Two separate roadside bombs, one near a hospital and another near a popular market, in the predominantly Shiite north Baghdad district of Sadr city left two people dead and 14 wounded.