World

2 car bombs kill 9 in southern Iraq

BAGHDAD — Two car bombs went off Sunday in the Iraqi city of Basra, killing nine and wounding 24 in a rare attack in the Shi’ite-dominated south of the country.

All nine deaths resulted from a blast near an outdoor market, said Ali Ghanim, the head of the security committee in the Basra provincial council. He said 19 were wounded in that explosion.

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Fifteen minutes earlier, five people had been wounded when another car bomb went off near a parking lot near the Tax Department in the port city’s downtown, said Ghanim.

Basra, an oil-producing city, is 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.

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Police and hospital officials confirmed the casualties.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

Meanwhile, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq claimed responsibility for a carefully planned assault on the Justice Ministry in downtown Baghdad last week.

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The attack, involving car bombs and gunmen disguised as police, killed at least 24 people.

In a statement posted online Sunday, the Islamic State of Iraq said the attack was ‘‘vengeance for the Sunni women’’ held in the prisons of the Shi’ite-led government.

It described the ministry building as a ‘‘tool to fight, terrorize, jail, torture, and kill Sunnis.’’

The Thursday attack in downtown Baghdad came less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, revealing just how vulnerable to attacks by insurgents the country remains.

Associated Press

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