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Sixteen die in Baghdad blasts

A spate of bombings in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more, shattering a relative calm with the capital's deadliest violence in weeks.

Roadside bombs and explosives-packed cars detonated across a half-dozen neighbourhoods in the north, south and west of Baghdad, underlining persistent security concerns even as international energy companies met in the centre of the capital to bid on nationwide oil and gas exploration blocks.

Overall, 16 people were killed and at least 56 wounded in the attacks, an interior ministry official and two medical sources said.

On Thursday's deadliest attack struck in the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Shuala, where a car bomb killed at least 13 people and wounded 32, medical officials said. A police first lieutenant in Shuala said the car was driven by a suicide attacker. The explosion badly damaged nearby shops, and windows in several adjacent buildings were shattered, an AFP journalist reported.

Emergency crews were still at the scene more than an hour after the attack along with dozens of tearful residents.

‘I did not feel anything, but then suddenly I was thrown through the air and I hit a door,’ said a taxi driver who identified himself only as Abu Qarrar, or father of Qarrar. ‘I saw dead bodies, wounded people, people with body parts torn off,’ said the taxi driver, whose traditional Arab dishdasha robes were stained with blood. ‘I tried to help some people, and then the ambulances arrived, and now, they are cleaning the streets as if nothing happened.

Security forces cordoned off the area and tried to stop journalists from speaking to shopkeepers or residents. ‘When I got here, I saw people crying, and others were beating themselves,’ said Qusay Rahi, 31.

Separate bombings also struck Al-Amriyah, Ghazaliyah and Yarmuk in west Baghdad, and Dora and Saidiyah in the south of the capital, all on on Thursday morning.

A series of roadside bombs in Al-Amriyah killed two people and wounded at least seven, officials said, while a car bomb near the Yarmuk home of an official in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office killed a passerby.
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