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69 killed in new wave of car bombings in Iraq

Police say attacks targeted cafes on Muslim holiday

Iraqi forces investigated a car bombing site in Karbala,  south of Baghdad. Several blasts hit mainly Shi’ite areas.

Mushtaq Muhammed/Reuters

Iraqi forces investigated a car bombing site in Karbala, south of Baghdad. Several blasts hit mainly Shi’ite areas.

BAGHDAD — A wave of car bombings, mainly targeting cafes and markets across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killed 69 people Saturday, many celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said.

The death toll is the highest since July 20, when brazen assaults on two prisons near Baghdad plus other attacks left 71 dead.

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Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramadan. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Police said the deadliest of Saturday’s attacks took place when a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a residential area in the town of Tuz Khormato, killing eight people and wounding dozens, Mayor Shalal Abdool said. The town is about 130 miles north of the Iraqi capital.

Police said another car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Baghdad’s southeastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala shortly before sunset, killing seven people and wounding 20.

Also in southeastern Baghdad, officials said a car bomb went off inside a parking lot in the mainly Shi’ite New Baghdad neighborhood, killing three people.

Saif Mousa, the owner of a shoe store in New Baghdad, said he was sitting inside his shop when he heard the explosion.

‘‘My shop’s windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area,’’ Mousa said. ‘‘I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke. . . . At the end, we had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice’’ because of the holiday.

In other violence, authorities said:

 A car bomb exploded in a busy street in the Shi’ite neighborhood of Amil, killing three people and wounding 14. Another car bomb in Amil killed 3 people and wounded 14.

 In the holy Shi’ite city of Karbala, four people were killed in a car bomb attack near a cafe at night. Karbala is 50 miles south of Baghdad.

 Four people were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad’s Shi’ite neighborhood of Abu Dashir.

 In northern Baghdad, a car bomb hit a restaurant in the Shi’ite area of Khazimiyah, killing five people and wounding 14. Also, five people were killed when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad’s southwestern neighborhood of Baiyaa.

 Six people were killed and 15 were wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Shi’ite neighborhood of Shaab in northeastern Baghdad.

  A car bomb hit near restaurant in the city’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing seven people and wounding 15.

 A car bomb explosion on a commercial street in the Dora area in southern Baghdad killed five and wounded 15.

Police officials said all those attacks took place within an hour. Security forces and Shi’ites have been favorite targets for insurgents.

Earlier in the day, four people, including two children, were killed when a bomb exploded near a park just south of Baghdad, authorities said.

Later, a car bomb exploded in a busy street in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, killing four people and wounding 41 others, officials said. Nasiriyah is 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.

In the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a car bomb hit near a Shi’ite mosque, killing one person and wounding 20 others, police said. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures.

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