A wave of car bombings today hit the Iraq capital, killing 14 people and wounding more than 70 as violence surges in the country amid an escalating political crisis a month after the US military withdrawal.
At least 170 people have died in attacks since the beginning of the year, many of them Shiite pilgrims attending religious commemorations. The last American soldiers left the country December 18.
Suspected Sunni insurgents have frequently targeted Shiite communities and Iraqi security forces to undermine public confidence in the Shiite-dominated government and its efforts to protect people.
Today's first attack targeted an early morning gathering of day labourers in Baghdad's Sadr City neighbourhood. Police said eight were killed and another 21 wounded. Minutes later, an explosives-packed car blew up near a pastry shop in the same district, killing three people and wounding 26, police said.
Later in the morning, two more explosives-laden cars detonated, killing three and wounding 29 people. A parked car bomb exploded near a high school at 10:30 am (local time) in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Shula in northern Baghdad, killing two students and wounding 16 others, most of them also students, according to local police.
In the neighbouring district of Hurriya, one person was killed when an explosives-packed car, parked along a busy commercial street detonated five minutes after the Shula blast, police officials said. Thirteen people were injured in that bombing.
Hospital officials in Baghdad confirmed the death toll.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.