Ten car bombs kill 39 in Iraqi capital

BAGHDAD: Ten car bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital on Monday, killing nearly 40 people in markets and garages on the evening of a Shia Muslim celebration, police and medical sources said.

Some of the attacks targeted districts where Shias were commemorating the anniversary of the birth of a revered Imam, but there also were explosions in mixed neighbourhoods and districts with a high population of Sunnis.

The violence reinforced a growing trend since the start of the year, with more than 1,000 people killed in militant attacks in May alone, making it the deadliest month since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006-07.

Eight people were killed in two car bomb explosions in the central district of Karada, one of them in a car garage. Two car bombs exploded simultaneously near a market in the western district of Jihad, killing eight.

Separately, a bomb placed in a cafe in the northern city of Mosul killed five people, pushing Monday's death toll over 40.

Insurgents, including al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, have been recruiting from the country's Sunni minority, which feels sidelined following the US-led invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein and empowered majority Shias.

Since the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011, critics say Shia Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has consolidated his power over the security forces and judiciary, and has targeted several high-level Sunni leaders for arrest.

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