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Deadly blasts hit Iraq markets

Bombs have ripped through outdoor markets in and near Baghdad, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens, the latest in a deadly wave that has hit Iraq in recent months, officials said.

Three bombs went off simultaneously in the Shiite village of Sabaa al-Bour, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.

Police said the explosions - two at the market entrance and one inside the shopping area - went off as the place was packed with shoppers, killing 16 people and wounding 41.

Three women and two children were among those killed in the village market, according to police and hospital officials. Several shops and cars were damaged in the blast.

The attack came shortly after a bomb blast hit the al-Athorien market in Baghdad's southern neighbourhood of Dora. Police said that seven people, including two women, were killed there and 17 people were wounded.

Insurgents in Iraq often target crowded places such as markets, cafes and mosques in order to inflict huge casualties. More than 4,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but they bear the hallmarks of al Qaida's local branch in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq.

Al Qaida is believed to be trying to build on the Sunni minority's discontent towards what they consider to be second-class treatment by Iraq's Shiite-led government.

AP

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