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Eight killed in Baghdad bomb blasts

Eight people have died after three bombs ripped through a sprawling Baghdad market at the beginning of a Muslim festival.

Police said the blasts were planted in different parts of the Shorja market in central Baghdad, striking as shoppers were preparing for this week's Eid al-Adha feast.

City health officials confirmed that a further 19 people were injured.

A thick black plume of smoke from the bombs hovered over the Tigris River and could be easily seen against Baghdad's skyline.

The attack comes just hours after Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki urged his security forces to step up their vigilance against violence. Mr Al-Maliki said continued threats shows that insurgents still want to prevent Iraq from becoming a stable nation, but did not specify the threats.

"You have done much for Iraq, but Iraq remains in the circle of danger," Mr al-Maliki told security officials. "It needs more attention and care to confront those who want to damage security, who are plotting to turn this Eid, the Eid of happiness to Iraqis, into the Eid of blood."

Iraqi Shias mark the beginning of the Eid on Monday, while Sunnis do so on Sunday.

Over the last several weeks, Mr al-Maliki's government has detained 615 people that the premier says are members of Iraq's former ruling Baath Party that was ousted from power in the 2003 US-led invasion.

Sunnis have accused Mr al-Maliki, who is Shia, of cracking down on Baathists as an excuse to exert political pressure on them.

Violence across Iraq has dropped dramatically, but deadly attacks still happen nearly every day as the US moves to withdraw all of its 33,000 troops from Iraq by the end of the year.


From Belfast Telegraph