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Twin Baghdad car bombs kill 31 people

A pair of car bombs tore through two different Baghdad neighbourhoods yesterday, killing at least 31 people and breaking what has been a period of relative calm since the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The blasts were the worst to strike the Iraqi capital since the number of American troops in the country dropped below 50,000 and the US declared a formal end to combat operations.

The violence underlines the challenges Iraqi security forces face trying to stabilise Baghdad as US forces drawdown and Iraq's police and military assume responsibility for protecting the capital.

The deadliest attack took place in north Baghdad's Kazimiyah neighbourhood when a car bomb detonated near a branch office of the National Security Ministry in Adan square, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 70, police and hospital officials said.

“It was a big explosion and dust and smoke filled my house,” said Abu Shahad, who lives about 200 yards from the blast site. “I went out and saw a big black cloud hanging over the area where the bomb exploded, and I rushed there because I have relatives living there.”

At least 10 people were killed in the other car bombing in western Baghdad's affluent Mansour neighbourhood, said Army Brig Gen Ali Fadhal, who is responsible for the western half of the city. Another 10 people were wounded in the attack.

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