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Attacks in and north of Baghdad kill eight: Police

A car bomb went off near one of Baghdad’s landmark hotels and a suicide attacker blew himself up in a restaurant

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A car bomb went off near one of Baghdad’s landmark hotels and a suicide attacker blew himself up in a restaurant north of the Iraqi capital Friday, killing eight people, police said.

The explosives-laden vehicles rocked the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada, near the upmarket Babylon hotel that overlooks the Tigris.

A police colonel said at least three people were killed and 12 were wounded in the blast, which occurred at a time when many civilians were gathering for midday Friday prayers.

A hospital official confirmed the toll.

Such attacks, once almost daily in the capital, decreased in frequency this year after security forces pushed Islamic militants back from parts of the Baghdad belt and dismantled a bomb-making cell.

In Mashahdah, a town around 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest in a restaurant, killing at least five people, an official at the interior ministry said.

Most of the casualties of the blast, which also left 15 people wounded, were members of the Popular Mobilization units, an umbrella group under which many Shiite militias have been fighting militants alongside government forces.

Mashahdah straddles the main northbound road from Baghdad to the northern front of the battle against the Islamic State group, including cities such as Samarra and Tikrit.