Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Triple Baghdad blasts kill dozens


Aftermath of blasts in the Iraqi capital

At least 28 people have been killed by three bombs that exploded just moments apart in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The first two blasts were car bombs and then a suicide bomber detonated his charges in the crowd that had gathered to help, police say.

Another 68 people were injured in the blasts, which took place during morning rush hour in the Shia area of Kasra.

North of Baghdad, in Baquba, a female suicide car bomber attacked a US-allied militia checkpoint, killing six people.

The triple-bomb attack in Baghdad is one of the deadliest in Iraq in several months.

It is unclear how many people were killed and wounded in each of the explosions, police say.

Favoured tactic

Although attacks have decreased in number overall in Iraq in the last year, there has been a string of bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in recent weeks.

We are fed up with such attacks and we want only to live in peace
Ahmed Riyadh
Baghdad shopkeeper

Most of these have targeted police or security forces, government officials or commuters going to work in the morning.

The simultaneous bombs tactic has been much used by Iraqi insurgents since the US-led invasion in 2003, says the BBC's Andrew North in Baghdad.

There are suspicions that the blasts were an al-Qaeda attempt to re-ignite sectarian conflict in Baghdad, says our correspondent. Kasra adjoins the mainly-Sunni district of Adhamiya.

A minibus full of schoolgirls was caught in the attack. Television pictures showed blood on the seats and girls shoes scattered in the wreckage.

Shop fronts were torn apart and debris was strewn across the street.

Map showing Baquba, Kasra and green zone

"We are fed up with such attacks and we want only to live in peace," said local grocery store owner Ahmed Riyadh.

Baghdad was torn by sectarian strife through 2006-7, but it has since largely subsided as many local militias have joined Awakening Councils set up by the US forces. Smaller attacks still take place on a daily basis, however.

The suicide car bomber in Baquba, in Diyala province, struck a checkpoint staffed by a local Awakening Council militia.

Six militia members were killed and 14 civilians were wounded, police said.

The US military began transferring control of the Awakening Council militias to the Iraqis on 1 October and on Monday the government started paying the salaries of the Baghdad councils.

The Awakening Council militias, along with the increase in US troop numbers, are credited with the dramatic improvements in security in Iraq since the fierce sectarian violence of 2006-7.

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