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Iraq

Twin explosions rock Baghdad market

Twin car bombs have killed several people and wounded dozens more at a bird market in Iraq's capital city. There were also reports of a second twin-bombing south of Baghdad.

At least 16 people were killed on Friday morning as back-to-back explosions ripped through a bird market in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, according to local authorities. They estimated that an additional 40 people were wounded in the attack.

Also midmorning, two more car bombs were detonated at a marketplace in the city of Hilla, 100 kilometers south of Baghdad. At least 13 were killed and a dozen injured.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The string of bombings followed several weeks of violent attacks believed to be aimed at further undermining the Shiite-led government, which is currently caught in a political crisis with Iraq's Sunni minority. The minority group has been calling for the resignation of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. They have also been demanding a repeal of laws they claim target Sunnis.

While the current level of violence remains low in comparison to 2006-2007, the peak of sectarian bloodshed, high-casualty attacks continue to be a common occurrence in the fragile Middle Eastern nation.

kms/dr (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)