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Baghdad suicide attacks kill 26

A double suicide bombing attack at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad has killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens more.

The coordinated blasts were the latest in a string of attacks hitting Iraq, reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Police and hospital officials provided the casualty numbers for the blasts, which happened near and inside the mosque in Baghdad's northern Qahira neighbourhood.

Police said the first bomber detonated his explosives at a security checkpoint near the mosque in an apparent attempt to distract the authorities. Amid the commotion, a second bomber slipped into the mosque and blew himself up while worshippers were performing midday prayers.

Violence has surged in Iraq in recent months, along with sectarian and political tensions. Insurgents frequently attack Shiites deemed by Sunni extremists as infidels and non-Muslims.

There was no claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings and attacks against Shiite worshippers are frequently the work of al Qaida's Iraq arm.

The bloodshed roiling Iraq has risen to levels not seen since 2008. Nearly 2,000 have been killed since the start of April, including more than 220 this month.

On Sunday a wave of apparently coordinated bombings and a shooting killed at least 51 people. Fifteen people were killed in bomb attacks on Monday, including one caused by a suicide bomber who set off his explosives-laden belt among a group of policemen in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

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