A series of car bomb blasts in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 60 people and injured more than 150, officials say.
The bombs hit eight different areas on Monday. The deadliest blast tore through a small vegetable market and its car park in the Kadhimiyah area, killing seven people including two soldiers and wounding sixteen others, a police officer said.
That was followed by four parked car bombs, which went off in quick succession in the neighbourhoods of New Baghdad, Habibiya and Sabaa al-Bour – all striking outdoor markets or car parks.
Video footage showed several burnt-out vehicles, twisted metal wreckage and rubble from nearby shops ripped open by the explosion. An eyewitness said the driver of the car bomb left the vehicle before it blew up. He said a white Avio vehicle was parked nearby, not far from the workers, before it exploded suddenly, breaking up into several parts.
Workers swept concrete chunks of rubble and broken glass from the street as passers-by milled around to see what happened. Casualties were taken to nearby hospitals.
Reuters news agency reported that 14 car bombs went off across the Iraqi capital within a short period of time, in what appeared to be a coordinated spate of attacks. Most of the blasts appeared to target Shi\’ite sectors of the capital.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sa\’ad Ma\’an told Iraqi TV that car bombs went off in the districts of Kazemiyah, Sha\’ala, Hye al Jamiah, Ghazaliya and Square 55. Iraqi security forces also closed the 14th of Ramadan Bridge to prevent terrorists from moving about freely.
There has been a recent upsurge in sectarian violence, sparking fears of a return to the bloodletting of 2008.
More than 5,000 people have been killed so far this year, according to United Nations data.