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Two fatal bomb blasts rock Baghdad

At least 18 people have been killed and more than 60 wounded in twin suicide bombings in Iraq's capital. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Police said the bombs ripped through two mainly Shiite Muslim neighborhoods of Baghdad on Saturday.

The larger blast took place in the Kadhimiya district, where officials said a suicide bomber set off a vest laden with explosives outside a police checkpoint. At least 11 people were killed in the attack, including four civilians.

In the second strike, police said seven people were killed when a suicide bomber tore through a busy street in the al-Horreya neighborhood. A medical official confirmed both death tolls to The Associated Press news agency.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks, although militant group "Islamic State," which

now controls huge sections of Iraq

and Syria, has in the past carried out several similar bombings targeting Iraqi security forces and the country's Shiite majority.

Iraq's most influential cleric, Ali al-Sistani, on Friday called on world powers to step up their support for his country's fight against the Sunni jihadists. In August last year, a US-led coalition launched an air campaign against the group in Iraq.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said he would welcome Russia also carrying out airstrikes against IS on Iraqi soil. Moscow this week

launched its first airstrikes

in war-torn Syria, but says it currently no plans to expand its operation to Iraq.

nm/sms (AP, Reuters)

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