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Bomb blasts kill 26 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Bomb blasts tore through two Baghdad neighborhoods on Wednesday evening, killing at least 26 people, including several members of a wedding party, and extending a relentless wave of bloodshed roiling Iraq.

The attacks come as the country is experiencing its most sustained bout of violence since the 2011 US military withdrawal. More than 500 people have been killed since April.

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Wednesday’s deadliest attack struck a commercial street in the mixed Sunni-Shi’ite Jihad neighborhood, killing 16 and wounding 38, police said. Many of those slain were in a wedding party passing by when the blast went off, authorities said.

The southwestern neighborhood was one of the earliest flashpoints in Baghdad’s descent into sectarian bloodshed in the years following the 2003 US-led invasion. It housed mainly Sunni civil servants and security officials under Saddam Hussein’s regime, though many Shi’ites now live there, too.

Many of Jihad’s Sunni residents earlier this year received threatening leaflets from a Shi’ite group warning them to leave. The group, the Mukhtar Army, is not known to carry out car bombings.

Another 10 people were killed and 25 were wounded when a roadside bomb and then a car bomb exploded near a market, killing 10 people and wounding 25, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Car bombings in civilian areas are often the work of Al Qaeda’s Iraqi arm, which aims to undermine faith in the Shi’ite-led government.

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