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11 dead, 31 hurt in car bomb blast

At least 11 people were killed and 31 others injured when a car bomb exploded in a busy Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

The attack was the latest to shake the capital as the Shiite-led government struggles to dislodge Sunni militants from areas in the country's west and north.

The explosives-laden vehicle went off during the morning rush-hour in the main commercial area of the New Baghdad district. It was parked close to outdoor pet and vegetable markets and a traffic police office, a police officer said.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.

The bombing came a day after a wave of attacks targeted Shiite areas in several cities, including Baghdad, killing at least 58 people. Among them were 15 worshippers who died in a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the same New Baghdad neighbourhood where today's car bomb exploded.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, which bore the hallmarks of al Qaida-inspired militants.

Iraq has faced a growing Sunni insurgency since early this year as the Islamic State, an al Qaida breakaway group, and allied militants have taken over areas in the country's west and north. The crisis is Iraq's worst since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops.

The Islamic State captured large swathes of territory in western and northern Iraq in a lightning offensive earlier this year.

The blitz stunned Iraqi security forces and the military, which melted away and withdrew as the Islamic State overran the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit in June, as well as small towns and villages on their path.

Since then, tens of thousands of Iraqis, including members of Christian and other minorities, have been forced from their homes and displaced, while the Islamic State has carved out a self-styled caliphate in the large area straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border that it now controls.

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