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IRAQ

Series of fatal Baghdad blasts

2 min

Multiple bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least a dozen and wounded several dozen. One attack was near the passport office in the north of the city, another was on the side of a road, another took place in the Al-Ghadir neighbourhood.

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A series of bomb attacks in Baghdad early on Sunday killed 12 people and wounded at least 31, government sources said.

In the deadliest attack a small truck parked near the passport office on Magreb Street in the north of the city killed 12 and wounded 20, defence and interior ministry sources said.

Several people suffered burns as flames from the powerful blast swept skywards, damaging buildings, they said.

Meanwhile, on Palestine Street in the centre of the Iraqi capital a roadside bomb wounded nine including six civilians as a police patrol passed.

A third attack thought to have targeted government vehicles wounded two civilians in the southeastern neighbourhood of Al-Ghadir.

The rush hour strikes were the first attacks in the city since last Monday when three suicide bombers believed to be women blew themselves up among the pilgrims in the capital, killing at least 25 and wounding around 75.

Sunday's bombings came as the Iraqi parliament was due to tackle a disputed provincial election bill that has heightened tensions over the oil-rich northern region of Kirkuk, casting doubt over polls originally set for October.

Thousands of Arabs staged a noisy rally in Iraq's northern city of Hawija on Saturday to protest against fresh moves to incorporate the oil province of Kirkuk into the autonomous Kurdish region.

Kirkuk has been gripped by ethnic tension since the US-led invasion of 2003, with Arab and Turkmen residents fearful they would be marginalised if the city were handed over to the Kurds.

A suicide bombing and ensuing panic gunfire killed at least 27 people and wounded 126 last Monday during a mainly Kurdish rally protesting against the provincial election law that promises to tackle these concerns.

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