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Eight killed in Iraq bomb blasts

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People gather near a destroyed building a day after a car bomb attack in the Washash neighborhood of Baghdad (AP)

People gather near a destroyed building a day after a car bomb attack in the Washash neighborhood of Baghdad (AP)

People gather near a destroyed building a day after a car bomb attack in the Washash neighborhood of Baghdad (AP)

Three bombs planted on motorcycles have gone off in quick succession in a town in central Iraq, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens more, officials have said.

The blasts in the town of Balad, some 50 miles north of Baghdad, have come in one of the deadliest months in Iraq since the last US troops pulled out of the country in December.

Police said the bombs, which were hidden on motorbikes and went off within minutes of each other, also wounded at least 38 people.

"We were expecting this, because the terrorists want to ignite sedition among the Iraqi people," said Shiite cleric Murtada Faraj, 49, who was at Balad hospital caring for his three wounded nephews.

Faraj said he had been about to leave the market when the explosions hit. "Our town is Shiite, but it is surrounded by areas controlled by terrorists," he said.

Balad is a predominantly Shiite town in the majority Sunni province of Salahuddin.

Shiites are a prime target of al-Qaida's offshoot in Iraq, which claimed responsibility earlier this month for attacks that killed 72 Shiite pilgrims on their way to an annual religious ceremony in Baghdad.

At least 220 people have been killed in June in a surge of bloodshed that officials and experts fear is part of insurgents' efforts to reignite widespread violence along sectarian lines.

Local security and hospital officials confirmed the casualty toll. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information.

The latest attacks came a day after a series of bombs rocked Baghdad including a car bomb attack in the Washash neighbourhood.

PA