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Middle East

Iraq: Wave of bombings kills 40 in Baghdad at end of Ramadan


A wave of car bombings targeting cafes and markets around the Iraqi capital of Baghdad has killed 40 people out celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said.

Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramadan. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Police said the deadliest of today's attacks took place when a car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Baghdad's southeastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala shortly before sunset, killing seven people and wounding 20.

Police said a series of car bombs against cafes, markets and restaurants in Shiite areas in Baghdad killed another 33 people and wounded dozens.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

Iraqi security forces have stepped up patrols and checkpoints to protect people during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan. This year's Ramadan was the most violence since 2007, with 671 people killed.