Scores killed in Baghdad bomb attacks
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At least 80 people have died, and many more wounded, as a wave of car bombings hit the Iraqi capital on Saturday, marking the end of a Ramadan marred by bloodshed.
Car bombs targeting cafes and markets in Baghdad were among a series of attacks that killed 41 people Saturday as Iraqis marked the end of their bloodiest Ramadan in years.
The blasts were the latest in spiralling violence that authorities have failed to stem, with bloodshed at its worst since 2008 amid worries of a return to the all-out sectarian war that blighted Iraq years ago.
The latest violence comes just weeks after massive assaults, claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq, on prisons near Baghdad that freed hundreds of militants, with analysts warning of a resulting spike in unrest.
They also come as security officials trumpet a vast weeks-long security operation north of Baghdad that they say has led to the killing and capturing of numerous militants.
A series of car bombs struck eight different neighbourhoods -- predominantly Sunni, Shiite and confessionally mixed -- in apparently coordinated strikes as Iraqis marked the Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The blasts struck public markets, cafes, and restaurants, killing 27 people overall, while violence earlier on Saturday killed two others, according to security and medical officials
The attacks came after another series of blasts hit Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 31 people.
Also on Saturday, north of the capital in Tuz Khurmatu, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near a police checkpoint, killing nine people and wounding 48.
Elsewhere, three people were killed and five others wounded in separate attacks in Babil and Nineveh provinces.
More than 800 people were killed in attacks during Ramadan, which began in the second week of July and ended this week.
Militants struck targets ranging from cafes where Iraqis gathered after breaking their daily fast, to mosques where extended evening prayers were held during the month.
Violence has markedly increased this year, especially since an April 23 security operation at a Sunni Arab anti-government protest site that sparked clashes in which dozens died.
Protests erupted in Sunni-majority areas in late 2012, amid widespread discontent among Sunnis, who accuse the Shiite-led government of marginalising and targeting them.
Analysts say Sunni anger is the main cause of the spike in violence this year.
In addition to security problems, the government is failing to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.
Political squabbling has paralysed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years.