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Bomb blasts in Iraq leave dozens dead

A wave of bombings in Iraq's capital Baghdad has left dozens of people dead and wounded many more. The blast hit predominately Shiite neighborhoods of the city during morning rush hour.

At least 66 people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday when a series of coordinated blasts struck in and around the capital, police and medical sources said.

According to news agency AFP at least 12 explosions, mostly car bombs, targeted mainly Shiite areas.

One worst-hit areas was Jisr Diyala in southeastern Baghdad, where at least one car bomb reportedly killed eight and wounded 22. Other neighborhoods targeted included Kazimiyah and Sadr City. Two mixed towns south of the capital were also hit.

"What sin have those innocent people committed?" said Ahmed Jassim to AP, having witnessed one of the explosions in Baghdad's Hurriyah neighborhood. "We hold the government responsible."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings, however Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda frequently carry out such attacks against Shiite targets.

Iraq has witnessed a rise in unrest since the start of the year, with more than 3,700 people killed in 2013. At least 1,000 people died in attacks in July alone, the worst monthly toll since 2008. Another 500 have been left dead from attacks in August, according to AP.

"No political goal or grievance can possibly justify this daily bloodshed of innocent civilians," said Jacqueline Badock, the deputy United Nations envoy to Iraq.

The increasing violence is being linked with the rising tensions in Syria.

It has prompted fears Iraq may be on the brink of the same kind of all-out sectarian violence that struck the country in 2006-2008, killing tens of thousands of people.

Much of the violence in Iraq stems from anger within the Sunni Arab community over what it perceives as ill-treatment by the Shiite-led authorities and security forces.

ccp/ph (AFP, AP, Reuters)