Officials: Baghdad car bombs kill nine

The five blasts also wounded dozens, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodshed

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A series of evening car bombs targeting commercial neighborhoods of Iraq’s capital killed at least nine people on Saturday, security and medical officials said.

The five blasts also wounded dozens, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodshed that has hit the country with less than two months left before national parliamentary elections.

The attacks, all car bombs at markets or commercial shopping areas of the Sadr City, Amil, Amin, Shuala and Qahira neighborhoods, killed nine people in all, said police and medical sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

More than 30 people were wounded, they said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, but Sunni militants, including those linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria jihadist group, are often blamed for carrying out coordinated mass-casualty bombings.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has singled out Saudi Arabia and Qatar for effectively waging war on Iraq, accusing the two Gulf states of backing militant groups.

He told France 24 in an interview this month that Riyadh and Doha provide political, financial and media support to militant groups, and also accused the Saudis of supporting global “terrorism.”

Elsewhere in Iraq on Saturday, a gun attack on the outskirts of the confessionally mixed city of Baquba killed a mother and her son, while a car bomb in the predominantly Sunni city of Tikrit near the home of a police colonel wounded 15 people.

More than 230 people have been killed already this month, according to an AFP tally.

Iraq is grappling with its worst prolonged period of violence since it emerged from a bloody sectarian war that left tens of thousands dead in 2006-07.

Analysts and diplomats have urged the Shiite-led government to reach out to the Sunni community, who allege they are mistreated by the government and security forces.

But with elections looming on April 30, political leaders have been loath to be seen to compromise.

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