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New wave of bombings sweeps Iraq

Suicide bombers have attacked an Iraqi police station killing eight officers in the deadliest of a series of attacks across across the country that killed more than 60 people.

No-one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida and other Sunni militant groups.

The bombings were the latest episode in a wave of violence that has rocked Iraq since a security crackdown in April on a protest camp in a northern Sunni town.

They started with an attack in the town of Beiji, a former insurgent stronghold 150 miles north of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the main gate of the town police station.

The blast paved the way for three other suicide bombers, who were on foot, to storm inside and blow themselves up in the building. Eight policemen were killed and five wounded.

Several bombings hit different parts of Baghdad and the surrounding area.

The deadliest was a double car bomb attack that killed 23 Shiite pilgrims in the southern suburb of al-Rasheed as they were walking to the holy city of Karbala. More than 55 others were wounded.

In the south-eastern Bayaa neighbourhood a parked car bomb killed six civilians and wounded 12.

Another parked car bomb went off in the central Salhia neighbourhood near the heavily fortified Green Zone where key government offices and foreign embassies are located. That attack killed five civilians and wounded 14.

Four civilians were killed and 11 were wounded when a parked car bomb exploded at an outdoor market in Baghdad's central Sadriyah neighbourhood. A bomb went off near a bus station in the nearby al-Nahda area, killing three people and wounding seven. Another bomb in the eastern suburb of Hussainiyah killed one civilian and wounded seven.

And two other civilians were killed and seven wounded in a car bomb explosion in the south-eastern suburb of Jisr Diyala.

Meanwhile gunmen opened fire on a bus in Mosul that was carrying pilgrims travelling to Karbala, killing 11 people, including four women, and wounding eight.

In the northern city of Tikrit three suicide bombers set off their explosive belts in a bid to break into the building of the city council. Two civilians were killed and seven were wounded.

The bombings came a day after militant attacks killed at least 20 people in Iraq.

-AP

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