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Twin bombing kills 18 in Baghdad

Eighteen people have been killed in a twin bombing in Baghdad, Iraqi police and health officials said.

Police said the blasts targeted a music store in a Shiite neighbourhood of the capital.

Two people were killed in the initial explosion shortly after 7pm local time.

Four minutes later, as people rushed to the scene, a second bomb exploded, police said.

Another 36 people were wounded in the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack was the deadliest to rock Iraq since President Barack Obama declared the full withdrawal of US forces at the end of the year.

Ahmed Jalil, who owns a grocery shop near the attack site in Ur in north-east Baghdad, said: "I stood outside my shop and saw burning cars and dead bodies on the ground.

"The situation was miserable and I could see wounded people being loaded onto police pick-ups."

He added: "Today's attack proves that the government's allegations that the security is under control are nothing but baseless allegations and that the tens of checkpoints scattered all over the capital are useless and a waste of resources."

Experts have predicted an increase in violence as the December 31 date for US troops to leave the country approaches. The deadline is part of a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.

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