Middle East

Officials say car bombs in Iraq's capital kill 16

Residents look at wrecked cars at the site of a car bomb attack in Sadr City in Baghdad April 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili)

BAGHDAD: Two car bombs exploded in Shiite neighborhoods of Iraq's capital Thursday night, killing at least 16 people as violence roars on before a crucial election later this month, authorities said.

The first blast struck Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City in a commercial area, killing at least 11 people and wounding 21, police said. The second explosion hit a commercial street in Baghdad's southeastern al-Ameen district, killing at least five people and wounding 13, police said.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures from the attacks. All official spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, though they come as sectarian violence is surging across Iraq. Last year, Iraq weathered its deadliest bout of violence since it pulled back from the brink of civil war in 2008. United Nations figures show that violence killed 8,868 people in 2012.

The attacks also came as Iraq is heading toward a crucial parliamentary election on April 30, its first since the 2011 U.S. troop pullout.

More than 9,000 candidates will vie for 328 seats in parliament, but there will be no balloting in parts of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which is engulfed in clashes between security forces and al-Qaida-inspired militants. The militants have seized and are continuing to hold parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, and nearly all of the nearby city of Fallujah.





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