Officials: Attacks in Iraq kill at least 19

Associated Press
Shiite Muslim worshippers gather at the holy shrine of Imam Abbas during the annual festival of Shabaniyah, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the ninth-century Shiite leader known as the Hidden Imam, in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
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BAGHDAD (AP) — Attacks on Monday across Iraq, including night car bomb blasts near markets in and around Baghdad, killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens of others, officials said.

The attacks were the latest in a wave of violence that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since the beginning of April. Militants, building on Sunni discontent with the Shiite-led government, appear to have grown stronger in central and northern Iraq.

The deadliest attack came at night in Baghdad, when a car bomb exploded near a supermarket on a main commercial street in the Shiite Karrada neighborhood, killing five people and wounding 16.

Just after sunset, police said a car bomb went off near an outdoor market in the Shiite suburb of Nahrawan, killing four civilians and wounding 15 others.

Minutes later, a car bomb went off near a market in the Shiite-majority neighborhood of New Baghdad. Police said that three people were killed and 10 others were wounded. Minutes later, a second car bomb hit a bus stop in the same neighborhood, killing two people and wounding eight others.

Also, two people were killed in a car explosion in the Christian-Shiite neighborhood of Garage al-Amana in southeastern Baghdad.

In the morning, a provincial police officer in Ninevah said a suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into an army patrol in the city of Mosul, killing a soldier and a police officer. He said that seven people, including two civilians, were wounded. Mosul is 360 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

Another officer said a second bomber blew set off his explosive-rigged belt inside a university campus in the city of Tikrit, killing a police officer. The city is 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad.

Two medical officials confirmed casualty figures. All spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to release information to reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but security forces and Shiite residents are frequently targeted by al-Qaida's Iraq branch.

The violence came as tens of thousands of Shiites poured into the holy city of Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, for the annual festival of Shabaniyah, marking the anniversary of the birth of the ninth-century Shiite leader known as the Hidden Imam. Tight security measures were in force to try to prevent insurgent attacks on the worshippers.

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Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

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