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STRING BOMBS KILLED 50 IN BAGHDAD

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At least 50 people have been killed and dozens injured, on Thursday 02/23/2012, in a wave of bombings and shootings across Baghdad. Officials said the attacks appeared to be targeting police officers.

Nine people were killed in the worst attack, in the central Karada district, which is mainly Shiaa. The blast, near a police checkpoint, shook buildings and damaged shops (see also – Karada 11.01.10). No group has yet said it was behind the violence. Attacks in Iraq have risen since US troops withdrew in December (see – U.S 2011 Policy).

In other attacks on Thursday, six people were killed by a car bomb in al-Kadhimiya, north of Baghdad, while gunmen in the Sarafiya district of the capital also killed six at a police checkpoint. Last week, at least 18 people were killed in a suicide attack near the Iraqi police academy in the capital. There are fears the death toll from Thursday’s violence could rise.

There are also reports of bombings in the provinces of Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk. The capital of Salahuddin province is Tikrit, the home town of former leader Saddam Hussein, who was executed in 2006.

Shiaa targets have come under increasing attack since the government of Shiaa Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki moved against senior members of the predominantly Sunni Iraqiya political bloc (see – IRAQI CONCERN).

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