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    Series of bombings kills 22 in Iraq

    BAGHDAD — A series of bombings struck Baghdad and towns south of the Iraqi capital on Thursday, killing at least 22 and wounding dozens in areas that are home to mostly Muslim Shi’ites — the latest evidence of rising sectarian discord in Iraq.

    The attackers struck a day before tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims are expected to take to the streets in now-weekly protests against the Shi’ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The rallies are exacerbating long-simmering tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and the Shi’ite majority nearly a decade after the US-led invasion.

    The deadliest attack occurred around sunset when a pair of bombs exploded nearly simultaneously in Shula in northwestern Baghdad.

    Associated Press