Baghdad Bomb Blasts Kill Dozens In Shia Neighborhoods

Baghdad, Iraq — A series of car bomb blasts have killed at least 28 people and wounded dozens more in Shia areas of Iraq’s capital city.

The attacks on Sunday targeted mostly outdoor markets during the beginning of the local work week.

While sectarian violence has decreased in Iraq since the height of the insurgency, it is still common, reports The BBC.

Security sources have reported that three explosions took place in the Ourfally, Kiyara, and Falah Street neighborhoods in Sadr City, an eastern suburb of Baghdad.

The attacks serve to highlight the tensions building up to the parliamentary elections in March. At least 33 people died and roughly 100 were injured earlier this month when car bombings took place in predominantly Shia areas of the country.

The head of Iraq’s intelligence academy, General Ali Aouni, as well as two bodyguards, died in a suicide blast on Saturday in the northern town of Tal Afar.

The Associated Press notes that there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s bomb blasts in Baghdad. Police and hospitals have provided the death toll, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not yet allowed to brief reporters.

The attacks are similar to ones carried out by Sunni extremists, like al-Qaeda’s local arm, called the Islamic State of Iraq. The group prefers large-scale attacks that target Shiite Muslims.

The blasts began with a parked car detonating in the Sadr City Shiite district. Soon after, two more parked cars detonated elsewhere in the poor neighborhood. Other blasts were also seen in al-Amin, an open-air market in Husseiniya, and Kamaliya. It is likely that the death toll will rise as officials work to comb through the blast zones and locate survivors.

Sunday’s bomb blasts in Baghdad bring the total death toll for February to 100 killed in violent attacks in Iraq. January’s death toll was 178.

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