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Blasts across Iraq kill 40 as unrest spreads on election eve

Over 65 wounded in cafe attack; blasts in mosques kill eight

Written by Press Trust Of India | Baghdad | Published: April 20, 2013 2:59:19 am

Violence spiked as Iraq readied Friday for its first elections since US troops withdrew,with 32 people killed in a late-night bombing at a Baghdad billiards cafe frequented by young men.

In another incident,seven worshippers were killed and a dozen wounded when mortar rounds targeted a Sunni Muslim mosque during Friday prayers in Diyala province,police said.

A bomb placed inside a Shia mosque in Kirkuk,170 km north of the capital,also killed one and wounded 12 just as worshippers were leaving,officials said.

The attacks raise further questions about the credibility of Saturday’s provincial elections,with 14 candidates already having been killed and a third of the country’s provinces not even voting amid an ongoing political crisis.

The polls are seen as a key test of Iraq’s stability and security,and will provide a gauge of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s popularity as he grapples with infighting in his national unity government and months of protests by Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority.

The latest bombing struck at 1900 GMT Thursday in the west Baghdad suburb of Amriyah,leaving 32 dead and more than 50 wounded,security and medical officials said.

Among the dead were at least three children and a woman.

It exploded at the Dubai cafe,which lies on the second floor of a small shopping mall in the predominantly Sunni neighbourhood that is filled with families as it contains restaurants and clothes shops.

The cafe itself,however,is mostly frequented by young men playing billiards and video games.

Security forces restricted movements in Amriyah Friday in the wake of the blast.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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