August 26, 2014 10:36 am

At least 11 killed, 31 injured from car bombing in eastern Baghdad

BAGHDAD – A parked car bomb exploded on Tuesday in a busy Shiite area in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 11 people, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks to shake the Iraqi capital as the Shiite-led government struggles to dislodge Sunni militants from areas in the country’s west and north.

The explosives-laden car went off during the morning rush hour in the main commercial area of the New Baghdad district It was parked close to outdoor pet and vegetable markets and a traffic police office, a police officer said.

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The attack killed at least 11 and wounded 31, he added. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

The bombing came a day after a wave of attacks targeted Shiite areas in several cities, including Baghdad, killing at least 58 people. Among them were 15 worshippers who died in a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the same New Baghdad neighbourhood where Tuesday’s car bomb struck.

No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, which bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida-inspired militants.

Iraq has faced a growing Sunni insurgency since early this year as the Islamic State, an al-Qaida-breakaway group, and allied militants have taken over areas in the country’s west and north. The crisis is Iraq’s worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The Islamic State has captured large swaths of territory in western and northern Iraq in a lightning offensive earlier this year.

The blitz stunned Iraqi security forces and the military, which melted away and withdrew as the Islamic State in June overran the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit, as well as small towns and villages on their path.

Since then, tens of thousands of Iraqis, including members of Christian and other minorities, have been forced from their homes and displaced, while the Islamic State has carved out a self-styled caliphate in the large area straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border that it now controls.

Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.

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