Three explosions in Baghdad,including a car bomb opposite the foreign ministry, killed at least seven people and wounded more than 20 others today, security and medical officials said.
The explosions come amid the worst surge in bloodshed in more than five years, raising fears about Iraq slipping back into sectarian violence that left thousands dead between 2006 and 2007.
The blasts, which also hit a restaurant and a market for vehicle spare parts, struck during the morning rush hour. The attack at the restaurant was a suicide bombing, while the other two explosions were caused by vehicles rigged with explosives. The area surrounding the foreign ministry in central Baghdad has been hit by explosions in the past, notably in August 2009, when a massive truck bomb devastated the building, and again ahead of an Arab summit in the Iraqi capital in 2012.
According to government data, more than 1,000 people were killed in January this year as security forces struggle to curb bombings, while also battling jihadists and other militants who have seized sizeable territory in the western Anbar province.
Foreign leaders and diplomats have urged the Shiite-led government to reach out to Iraq’s Sunni minority, but with parliamentary elections looming in April, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has taken a hard line.
Till now, no group has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks. But Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are typically blamed for violence in the capital.