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Iraq: Explosions kill 31 in Iraq's crowded markets


A series of car bombs across Iraq Friday killed at least 31 people and wounded 71 others in the latest spike in violence amid a political crisis.

The attacks primarily targeted marketplaces that are often crowded on Fridays, the weekly holiday in Iraq, and took the death toll from a week of violence to more than 100.

Twin explosions that struck at a bird market in the north Baghdad neighborhood of Kazimiya killed at least 17 people and wounded 45 others, security and medical officials said.

The two car bombs were set off just after 9am in the market, which is typically packed with people on a Friday.

The explosives were strapped to two mentally impaired women and then triggered by remote control in coordinated blasts, a top Iraqi security official said at the time.

And in the province of Babil on Friday, two car bombs in the town of Shomali, south of Baghdad, killed 14 people and wounded 26 others.

Health officials confirmed the casualty figures in each attack. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

The first explosion went off on the town's outskirts, while the second was detonated in a market. Among the casualties were women and children, the medics said.

The violence is the latest in a spike in unrest in Iraq, which has been struck by waves of car bombs and suicide attacks in recent weeks amid a political crisis and weeks of rallies calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

A total of 102 people have been killed in violence nationwide in the past week, and January was the deadliest month in Iraq since September according to an AFP tally.

Among the attacks since Saturday was a string of three suicide bombings in as many days.


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