blasts in Iraq kill 49: police, medics
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[February 18, 2014]
HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) — Bombs
exploded in predominantly Shi'ite Muslim districts of the Iraqi capital
and in the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, killing at least 49
people, police and hospital sources said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the
attacks, but Shi'ites are often targeted by Sunni Islamist
insurgents who have been regaining ground in Iraq over the past year
and overran several towns in recent weeks.
The deadliest attacks on Tuesday occurred in and around Hilla, 100
km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, where 35 people were killed in seven
car bomb explosions inside the city itself and in the nearby towns
of Haswa, Mahaweel and Mussayab.
"Hilla hospital has received 35 bodies so far from seven car bomb
blasts," said one health official. A further 90 people were wounded
in the blasts. Fourteen more people were killed in explosions in
mainly Shi'ite districts of Baghdad.
In one of those, a bomb inside a parked vehicle exploded near a bus
station in the Bayaa district, killing five people, the sources
said. There were also blasts in the Amil, Ilam and Shurta districts.
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Last year was Iraq's bloodiest since sectarian bloodshed began to
abate in 2008.
(Reporting by Ali al-Rubaie in Hilla and Kareem Raheem in Baghdad;
writing by Ahmed Rasheed; editing by Isabel Coles and Mark Heinrich)
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