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Rash of blasts across Baghdad kills dozens

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
 

BAGHDAD — A wave of bombs tore through Baghdad on Monday, officials said, killing at least 55 people. Most of the blasts were car bombs detonated in Shiite neighborhoods, the latest of a series of well-coordinated attacks blamed on hard-line Sunni insurgents determined to rekindle large-scale sectarian conflict.

Multiple coordinated bombing strikes have hit Baghdad repeatedly during the past five months. The Shiite-led government has announced security measures, conducted counter-insurgency sweeps of areas believed to hold insurgent hideouts, and sponsored political reconciliation talks but has not significantly slowed the pace of the bombing campaign.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida's local branch in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Qaida is believed to be trying to build on the Sunni minority's discontent toward what they consider to be second-class treatment by the government and on infighting between political groups.

In addition to helping al-Qaida gain recruits, the political crisis may be affecting the security forces' ability to get intelligence from Sunni communities.

“Our war with terrorism goes on,” Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said. “Part of the problem is the political infighting and regional conflicts. ... There are shortcomings and we need to develop our capabilities mainly in the intelligence-gathering efforts.”

The deadliest of Monday's bombings was in the eastern Sadr City district, where a parked car bomb tore through a small vegetable market and its parking lot, killing seven people and wounding 16, a police officer said.

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