A car bomb exploded on Saturday in a crowded street in a city north of Iraq’s capital, killing 17 people and wounding 35.
The blast in Samarra came as people shopped ahead of the biggest Muslim holiday of the year, Eid al-Adha, which begins later this week.
Militants seeking to cause maximum casualties frequently bomb heavily populated areas of the conflict-ridden country, including shopping districts, markets, cafes and mosques.
Violence in the country has reached a fever pitch to a level not seen since 2008, when Iraq was coming out of a bloody sectarian conflict.
This year’s violence has raised fears of a relapse into a Sunni-Shiite bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of this year, according to the Associated Press.
(With the Associated Press and AFP)