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Bomb attacks shake Iraq, killing around 70

A series of attacks have left dozens of people dead in Iraq. The worst single attack came at a funeral service, while a series of car bombs in the capital Baghdad added to the death toll.

At least six car bombings in Baghdad, combined with an attack on a funeral service near the northern town of Baquba, have left up to 75 people dead, according to some reports. Other reports place the death toll lower at around 50.

The car bombs struck civilian targets in the capital. The deadliest of the blasts in Baghdad took place in the Shula neighborhood at an outdoor market and killed five people. Wednesday's violence comes after a series of

deadly incidents

a day before in Baghdad.

In Buhriz, near Baquba about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Baghdad, a bombing in a tent at a funeral service killed at least 16 people and around two dozen more, according to officials. The funeral was for an anti-al Qaeda Sunni militiaman who had died two days ago of natural causes.

In northwest Iraq, roadside bombs near a bridge south of Mosul exploded as an army patrol crossed it, killing soldiers. News agency Reuters said 13 people in and around Mosul were left dead by the violence, with nine of them troops.

There were no claims of responsibility for the bombings on Wednesday, but Sunni militants - who are often linked to al Qaeda - frequently target civilian and military targets or Shiite Muslims, who make up the government's leadership.

Violence of this nature

in Iraq has been relatively commonplace since US troops left the country two years ago and has reached levels not seen since clashes between Sunnis and Shiites in 2006-07 that killed tens of thousands of people.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for support from the rest of the world in the face of the violence.

"The battle will be long and will continue," Maliki said on state television. "If we keep silent it means the creation of evil statelets that would wreak havoc with security in the region and the world."

Meanwhile, militants fighting in Anbar province were able to take some territory from government security forces. It marks the second day in a row security forces have ceded territory to al Qaeda-linked militants in the western part of the country.

The government has been in a standoff with the militants for over two weeks after the militants overran the city of Falluja, west of Baghdad. Despite a ring of security forces around the city, Maliki has ruled out a direct assault to retake Falluja.

mz,ph/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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