Car bomb, suicide attack in Baghdad kill 11 people

Car bomb kills 11 in Iraq
Mohammed Mahmoud carries the lifeless body of his 18-month old nephew Mustafa, who was killed in a bombing on Tuesday, before his burial in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Militants unleashed a wave of car bombings in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing dozens and sending thick, black smoke into the air in a show of force meant to intimidate Iraq’s majority Shiites as they marked what is meant to be a joyous holiday for their sect. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)

BAGHDAD (AP) – A car bomb and a suicide bomber struck on Thursday in a bustling area in downtown Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 33, officials said.

The first explosion was from an explosives-laden car left in a parking lot in Karrada, a busy commercial area where several government offices are also located, as well as courts and a hospital.

Four civilians and three policemen were killed in that attack, and 21 people were wounded, a police officer said.

A few minutes later, a suicide bomber with an explosives belt blew himself up at the main gate of an office affiliated with the Higher Education Ministry, killing two policemen and two civilians, the police officer also said. Twelve other people were wounded in that blast.

A medical official confirmed the causality figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

Ambulances rushed to the scene, which was quickly sealed off by security forces, as black smoke billowed into the sky. A military helicopter hovered overhead and shop owners cleaned shattered glass from their stores.

Since last year, Iraq has been seeing the worst level of violence since the nation emerged from Shiite-Sunni bloodletting in 2008. The U.N. says 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and more than 1,400 people were killed in January and February of this year.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack, which came two days after a series of car bombings rocked the capital and killed at least 34 people – the bloodiest day in Iraq since April 28, when militant strikes on polling stations and other targets killed 46. An al-Qaida spin-off group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The latest attacks come nearly two weeks after Iraqis cast ballots in the country’s first parliamentary election since the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011. No preliminary results have yet been released, deepening a sense of uncertainty in a country strained by a resurgence of violence.

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