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Several killed in wave of bombings in Iraq

Explosions across Iraq have killed at least 16 people and wounded over 76 more, police report. The attacks are thought to be targeted at Shiites and government officials.

Protesters chant slogans against Iraq's Shiite-led government as they wave national flags during a demonstration in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. Thousands of Iraqi Sunnis massed along a major western highway and in other parts of the country Friday for what appear to be the largest protests yet in a week of demonstrations, intensifying pressure on the Shiite-led government. (Foto:Karim Kadim/AP/dapd)

Irak - Sunnitische Proteste gegen die Regierung.

A series of bombings across Iraq killed at least 16 people on Monday, including three policemen, and wounded more than 76, Iraqi officials said.

The violence struck the northern ethnically mixed provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala and south of Baghdad in Babil province, and appeared to be targeted at government officials, security forces and Shiite Muslims in the lead-up to major commemoration ceremonies.

In the deadliest attack, three women, two children and two men were killed when three houses were blown up in the town of Mussayab south of Baghdad, a local police officer and a medic said. Four others were wounded.

Iraqi officials also said a parked car bomb killed three people and wounded 21 in the city of Hillah, also south of the capital.

A police officer said Monday's explosion took place in a busy street, adding that some Shiite pilgrims were there making their way to the nearby city of Karbala to mark the 7th century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein.

No group has yet admitted responsibility for staging Monday's attacks, but Sunni militants regularly target Shiite pilgrims ahead of major rituals, with the Arbaeen commemoration ceremonies due in the coming days, as well as officials and security forces in a bid to destabilize the government.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, three policemen were killed and four critically wounded by a roadside bomb.

bk/rc (AP,Reuters,AFP)